It's Not Just About Sad Songs: The Effect of Depression on Posting Lyrics and Quotes

Lucia Lushi Chen, Walid Magdy, Heather Whalley, Maria K Wolters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

When studying how mental illness may be reflected in people’s social media use, content not written by the users is often ignored, because it might not reflect their own emotions. In this paper, we examine whether the mood of quotes posted on Facebook is affected by underlying symptoms of depression. We extracted quotes and song lyrics from the feeds of 781 Facebook users from the MyPersonality database who had also completed the CES-D depression scale. We found that participants with elevated depressive symptoms tend to post more song lyrics, especially lyrics with neutral or mixed sentiment. By analysing the topics of those lyrics, we found they center around overwhelming emotions, self-empowerment and retrospection of romantic relationships. Our findings suggest removing quotes, especially lyrics, might eliminate content that reflects users’ mental health conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocInfo 2020: Social Informatics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-60975-7
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-60974-0
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020
EventInternational Conference on Social Informatics - Pisa, Italy
Duration: 6 Oct 20209 Oct 2020

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer, Cham
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Social Informatics
Abbreviated titleSocInfo 2020
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Social media
  • Quotes
  • Lyrics
  • Depression


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