Study ties negative "tweets" to higher heart disease risk
People who post negative thoughts on Twitter may have an increased risk of heart disease, according to new research from the University of Pennsylvania.
Researchers there analyzed public tweets from more than 1,300 different counties in the U.S. between 2009 and 2010. They also analyzed public health information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for each county, including fatalities from heart disease and rates of smoking, obesity and physical activity levels.
The researchers divided tweets into those with positive emotions (displays of excitement or optimism) and those with negative emotions (established through the use of expletives or words such as "hate"). They found that more positive emotional tweets were correlated with lower risk of death from heart disease, and more negative emotional tweets were correlated with an increased risk.
The study's findings, published in the journal Psychological Science, suggest that language in social media outlets such as Twitter may help provide insight into public health trends.