Purpose: The Facebook web site is an exceptionally fast-growing social networking site (SNS) containing membership groups with discussion boards on a wide variety of issues. This study uses content analysis to scrutinise postings on Facebook groups related to concussion and examine the purpose of these postings.
Method: 472 Facebook groups related to concussion were screened by three researchers using a specifically developed coding scheme to examine demographic information and the purpose of the posting. In those cases where agreement was not obtained, post-analysis discussion allowed consensus to be reached.
Results: From the 17 Facebook groups which met the inclusion criteria, 145 postings were included for analysis. The predominant demographic group which posted on the Facebook discussion boards were North American males. In the main part, individuals utilised the Facebook group to relate personal experiences of concussion (65%), although it was also used to seek (8%) or offer advice (2%). Supporting quotes were extracted.
Conclusions: This study highlights the evolving nature of healthcare support in the twenty-first century and the rich information present relating to concussion on SNSs such as Facebook. Although the information being shared on these sites is important, the peer-to-peer interaction may be the key aspect of this health education medium.