Hospital marketers face a public weary of stressful social media messages

Hospital marketers have been using social media channels to attract patients for years, but their future strategies may need to consider how people's social media behavior has shifted in recent months.

A survey conducted by Columbus-based The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center gathered responses from 2,000 people. More than half of them said they have cut back on social media due to the pandemic and national divisiveness, and 20 percent said they make a point to take breaks from social media entirely.

The slight increase in social media abstention comes from users feeling unable to cope with the stress of interacting with upsetting or hostile content on these platforms, researchers said. 

"Being constantly immersed in this stressful environment and being overexposed to contentious or traumatic events can make you feel like the world is a less safe place to be," Ken Yeager, PhD, who worked on the survey, said in a news release. "And because these stressors have persisted over a long period of time, it’s wearing on people’s ability to cope with that stress."

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