Insights from Twitter About Public Perceptions of Asthma, COPD, and Exposures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to analyze tweets concerning asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). METHODS: Approximately 40,000 tweets containing asthma or COPD were analyzed. Lexical analysis ranked terms and domains of interest, compared COPD with asthma tweets, evaluated co-occurrence of terms within tweets, and assessed differences by source (personal, institutional, or retweet). The frequency of indicator terms relevant to occupational health was determined. RESULTS: Many tweets address community pollution and effects on children, but there is much less interest in work-related factors and occupational regulatory agencies. Environment is considered much more relevant for asthma than COPD. CONCLUSION: Although epidemiologic studies demonstrate a major burden of occupational factors upon both diseases, significantly improved outreach is needed to overcome inadequate public interest. Social media represent a valuable resource for assessing perceptions about work-related disease and potentially discovering new associations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-490
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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