University of Twente Student Theses


Exploring psychological topics and sentiments in how people tweet about chronic pain: A text-mining approach

Duong, T.T.L. (2023) Exploring psychological topics and sentiments in how people tweet about chronic pain: A text-mining approach.

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Abstract:The physical, emotional and psychological complexities of chronic pain make it challenging to be assessed, managed and treated within the healthcare setting, as it involves various aspects of a patient's daily life. Automated content analysis utilising data from social media offers a new dimension to gain insights into patients' experiences. This study utilized three text-mining techniques, namely topic modelling, Sentiment Analysis, and Profile of Mood States (POMS) analysis, to gain insights into the challenges faced by individuals living with chronic pain, their emotional state, and mood patterns. The analysis was conducted on a dataset of 18,778 tweets containing the term "#chronicpain," collected from January 1 to February 28, 2023. A control sample of 2000 tweets was collected containing the term “I” for comparison purposes. The analysis identified five distinct topics, which were labelled by two researchers. These topics included (1) chronic pain and health, (2) living with chronic pain, (3) temporal aspects of chronic pain, (4) mental impact of chronic pain, and (5) medications and alternative therapies for chronic pain. The findings revealed a predominantly negative sentiment across five topics and a significant difference compared to the control group. The POMS results indicated that individuals living with chronic pain expressed high levels of depression, although the difference compared to the control group was not notable. Anger and fatigue scores were substantially higher in the chronic pain tweets than in the control tweets. This study highlights the potential of employing an exploratory text-mining approach to gain valuable and additional understanding of the psychological experience of health-related issues, such as chronic pain.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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