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Talking about personal recovery in bipolar disorder: Integrating natural language processing, corpus linguistics and health research to analyse peer online support forum posts

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Personal recovery (PR), ‘living a satisfying, hopeful life even with the limitations caused by the illness’ (Anthony, 1993) is of particular value in bipolar disorder (BD) where symptoms often persist despite treatment. Jagfeld et al. (2021) defined the first framework for PR in BD, POETIC (Purpose & meaning, Optimism & hope, Empowerment, Tensions, Identity, Connectedness), based on CHIME (Leamy et al., 2011). So far, PR has only been studied in researcher-constructed environments (interviews, focus groups). Support forum posts can serve as complementary non-reactive data source.
By integrating corpus and computational linguistics and health research methods , this study analysed public BD support forum posts in relation to the lived experience of PR. Comparing 4.4K PR-relevant posts by 2K users to 25K non-PR-relevant posts resulted in 130 significantly overused keywords. Keywords were coded according to the POETIC framework.
Three domains featured most in PR-related discussions: Purpose & meaning (particularly parenting, work), Connectedness (romantic relationships, social support), Empowerment (self-management, personal responsibility).
This study is the first to analyse non-reactive data on PR in BD. Indicating the key areas that people focus on in PR when posting freely and the language they use, provides helpful starting points for therapists to collaboratively consider these issues with service users in clinical settings, such as recovery-oriented CBT.

Event (Conference)

TitleBABCP 50th Annual Conference
LocationImperial College
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event