What a study of emergency medicine physicians' tweets uncovered

 An analysis of more than 198,000 tweets from emergency medicine physicians found an increase in language around anxiety, stress and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia studied 198,867 tweets from nearly 500 emergency physicians posted between March 2018 and March 2022. 

Pre-pandemic, the most common themes among their social media posts were free open-access medical education, residency education, gun violence, quality improvement and professional resident associations. In the first year of the pandemic, key themes switched to healthy behaviors, pandemic response, vaccination, unstable housing and emotional support for others. 

Oversall, there was "significantly less positive, and concordantly more negative, language used during COVID-19," researchers said in the study, which was published in JAMA Network Open on May 10. Tweets around loneliness, anxiety, anger and depression also increased. 

"These findings suggest that social media content can provide insight into emergency medicine physicians' mental well-being and may reveal signals related to burnout by identifying higher levels of mental health strain and key changes in thematic content."


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