Funded Projects: 2015-2016

Celebration Drinking and Social Media

Principal Investigator:

Saleem Alhabash
Assistant Professor Department of Advertising and Public Relations
College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Additional Researchers:

Sandi Smith
Professor, Department of Communication
College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Pang-Ning Tan
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering

Research Assistants:

Duygu Kanver
Ph.D. Student College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Luis Figueira
M.A. Student, College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Greg Viken
Ph.D. Student, College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Courtland VanDam
Ph.D. Student Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering

Social media use among underage youth and college students is associated with risky behaviors, like smoking, problematic alcohol use, and recreational drug use (e.g., marijuana). Our previous research has also showed that exposure to, posting, and interacting with alcohol-related messages via social media increases the likelihood of alcohol use. College students drinking intensity, while generally heavier than that of other generational groups, increases during major celebrations, like St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve. Celebration drinking is associated with vehicle crashes caused by drunk driving, injuries, and other risky behaviors (e.g., unprotected sex, sexual assault, etc.). With heavy social media use habits, celebration drinking is not limited to the act of drinking at the bar or a party; but is rather extended to social media, where it signals a social norm to other users and possibly influences their drinking behaviors.

The current project investigates the relationship between Twitter use and celebration drinking on St. Patrick’s Day among MSU students using two studies. First, we are conducting a yearlong content analysis of a representative sample of tweets from 2015 to explore the prevalence and nature of alcohol-related tweets. Second, we are conducting surveys prior to, during, and after St. Patrick’s Day to investigate the influence of posting and interacting with alcohol-related social media posts, perceived drinking norms among offline and online friends, and self-reported drinking behaviors.

Machine Learning Content: Analysis of e-Cigarette Communication on Social Media

Principal Investigator:

Ashley Sanders-Jackson
Assistant Professor, Department of Advertising and Public Relations
College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Additional Researcher:

Jiayu Zhao
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
College of Engineering

E-cigarette uptake among youth and young adults in the United States in on the rise. Numerous scholars have documented text-based communication on social media related to e-cigarettes including advertising, political communication and user tips. Though the social media platform of preference varies, social media use is high amongst African American and Hispanic youth and young adults, putting these youth at greater risk for product use.  E-cigarette product use has been associated with up-take of other tobacco products.

This study seeks to develop an automated system, using machine learning based on in-person coding, to code for the presence or absence of e-cigarette information in images on social media. Currently, there is no system to code for tobacco-related images in general or e-cigarette images explicitly.

Evaluation of Motivational Text Messaging Interventions to Reduce Hopelessness through Physical Activity in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease

Principal Investigator:

Susan Dunn
Associate Professor, College of Nursing

Additional Researchers:

Sandi Smith
Professor, Department of Communication
College of Communication Arts & Sciences

Lorraine Robbins
Associate Professor, College of Nursing

Rajiv Ranganathan
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Department of Kinesiology, College of Education

Hopelessness is associated with increased morbidity and mortality in patients with coronary heart disease. Physical inactivity is additionally responsible for increased cardiovascular events and death. Most individuals with heart disease do not meet current American Heart Association exercise recommendations, and hopeless individuals, who feel incapable of helping themselves, are at particularly high risk for poor exercise adherence. Typical interventions resulting in significant improvement in physical activity in other populations may not be effective in hopeless individuals, leaving a critical and urgent need to design and test interventions to promote physical activity in this population. The purpose of this project to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, satisfaction, and preliminary efficacy of two 6 week motivational text-messaging interventions, one with and one without social support, both designed to decrease hopelessness through the promotion of physical activity. This project is innovative in that no intervention has been tested to encourage hopeless individuals with heart disease to exercise. 

This project builds on a program of research that has identified hopelessness in heart patients, developed and tested a state-trait hopelessness scale, and identified a negative relationship between exercise and hopelessness in individuals with heart disease. The innovative use of motivational text messaging with social support could transform care for heart patients with potential generalizability to other chronically ill populations to overcome hopelessness.