Understanding the Changes in Social Support Expressed in a COVID-19 Online Forum Download PDF

Sep 02, 2020EMNLP 2020 Workshop NLP-COVID SubmissionReaders: Everyone
  • Keywords: Reddit, social support
  • Abstract: In online forums focused on health-care and well-being, individuals tend to seek and give the following social support: emotional and informational support. Understanding the expressions of these social supports over time in an online COVID-19 forum is important for (a) the forum and its members to provide the right type of support to individuals seeking support and (b) determining the long term effects of the pandemic on the well-being of the public, thereby informing interventions. In this work, we build four machine learning (ML) models to measure the extent of the following social supports expressed in each post: (a) emotional support given (b) emotional support sought (c) informational support given, and (d) informational support sought. For each post, these ML models output a numerical value indicating the extent of each of these social supports expressed in the post. We aggregate these social supports expressed in posts by averaging their scores on a weekly basis and determine how these social support sought and given changes over time in posts published in an online COVID-19 forum.
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