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

EasyChair Preprint no. 4047

8 pagesDate: August 16, 2020


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 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 a romantic relationship. Our findings suggest removing quotes, especially lyrics, might be eliminating content that reflects users’ mental health conditions.

Keyphrases: Depression, lyrics, quotes, social media

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Lucia Lushi Chen and Walid Magdy and Heather Whalley and Maria Klara Wolters},
  title = {It’s Not Just About Sad Songs: The Effect of Depression on Posting Lyrics and Quotes},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 4047},

  year = {EasyChair, 2020}}
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