Online Attitudes and Information-Seeking Behavior on Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Greta Thunberg.
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH). 2021, 18 (9), 4981-?. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094981
The purpose of this study was to examine Internet trends data and sentiment in tweets mentioning autism, Asperger syndrome, and Greta Thunberg during 2019. We used mixed methods in analyzing sentiment and attitudes in viral tweets and collected 1074 viral tweets on autism that were published in 2019 (tweets that got more than 100 likes). The sample from Twitter was compared with search patterns on Google. In 2019, Asperger syndrome was closely connected to Greta Thunberg, as of the tweets specifically mentioning Asperger (from the total sample of viral tweets mentioning autism), 83% also mentioned Thunberg. In the sample of tweets about Thunberg, the positive sentiment expressed that Greta Thunberg was a role model, whereas the tweets that expressed the most negativity used her diagnosis against her and could be considered as cyberbullying. The Google Trends data also showed that Thunberg was closely connected to search patterns on Asperger syndrome in 2019. The study showed that being open about health information while being an active participant in controversial debates might be used against you but also help break stigmas and stereotypes.