How does Social Media play a role in mental health?

Title- “An Experimental Investigation into Promoting Mental Health Service Use on Social Media: Effects of Source and Comments”

Research Question/ hypothesis-

Hypothesis 1- Posts from a professional source will be perceived with greater cognitive trust than posts from a layperson source.

Hypothesis 2- Posts with positive comments will be perceived with greater affective trust than those with mixed or negative comments.

Hypothesis 3- Cognitive trust and affective trust in a Facebook post will be positively associated with attitudes towards Facebook posts about mental health information.

Hypothesis 4- Cognitive trust and affective trust in a Facebook post will be positively associated with attitudes towards mental health services.

Hypothesis 5- Attitudes towards Facebook posts about mental health information will be positively associated with intentions to (a) use mental health services, and (b) share the Facebook posts about mental health information.

Hypothesis 6- Attitudes towards mental health services will be positively associated with intentions to (a) use mental health services, and (b) share the Facebook posts about mental health information.

Experimental Designs-

  • Design overview- factorial design with an online experiment

Dependent Variable- Likert scales were used to show the respondents agreements/disagreements and various answers to the scales

Independent Variable- The likert scales questions remained the same and each participant responded

  • race
  • gender
  • age

Results-

  • Mental health posts delivered by professional sources were deemed as credible sources of information, while comments demonstrating positive or negative valence were associated with emotion-driven affective trust
  • Both cognitive and affective forms of trust were positively associated with one’s attitudes towards the mental health information delivered in the Facebook posts, which in turn promoted in individuals a greater intention to share the mental health information on social media
  • Only elevated affective trust positively impacted one’s attitudes towards mental health services, which in turn promoted in individuals a greater intention to actively use mental health services.

My Experience- I think that since the pandemic and everything essentially turning virtual, mental health has been a big issue. The study related to me, because I did get to a point where seeing negative comments on media was so draining. Every news source was all about the pandemic and deaths, and it was exhausting to look at and hear. During the height of the pandemic I wanted to hear more about positive things, not only from peers, but from people of authority, or people with large voices that were trustworthy and could perhaps spread a bit of news that we wanted to hear.

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