Facebook Groups on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Social Media Content Analysis

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Oct 9;16(20):3789. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16203789.

Abstract

Facebook Groups facilitate information exchange and engagement for patients with chronic conditions, including those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); however, little is known about how knowledge is diffused throughout these communities. This study aimed to evaluate the content that is available on COPD-related Facebook Groups, as well as the communication (self-disclosures, social support) and engagement (agreement, emotional reaction) strategies used by members to facilitate these resources. Two researchers independently searched the "Groups" category using the terms "COPD", "emphysema", and "chronic bronchitis". Twenty-six closed (n = 23) and public (n = 3) COPD Facebook Groups were identified with 87,082 total members. The vast majority of Group members belonged to closed (n = 84,684; 97.25%) as compared to open (n = 2398; 2.75%) groups. Medications were the most commonly addressed self-management topic (n = 48; 26.7%). While overall engagement with wall posts was low, the number of "likes" (an indicator of agreement) was significantly greater for wall posts that demonstrated social support as compared to posts that did not (p < 0.001). Findings from this study showed that COPD Facebook group members share specific disease-related experiences and request information about select self-management topics. This information can be used to improve the quality of self-management support provided to members of popular COPD Facebook groups.

Keywords: COPD; Facebook; online community; self-management; social media; social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / therapy*
  • Self-Management*
  • Social Media*
  • Social Support*