The state of mind of health care professionals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: text analysis study of Twitter discourses

Aviad Elyashar, Ilia Plochotnikov, Idan-Chaim Cohen, Rami Puzis, Odeya Cohen

Journal of Medical Internet Research 23 (10), e30217, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected populations worldwide, with extreme health, economic, social, and political implications. Health care professionals (HCPs) are at the core of pandemic response and are among the most crucial factors in maintaining coping capacities. Yet, they are also vulnerable to mental health effects caused by managing a long-lasting emergency with a lack of resources and under complicated personal concerns. However, there are a lack of longitudinal studies that investigate the HCP population.The aim of this study was to analyze the state of mind of HCPs as expressed in online discussions published on Twitter in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the onset of the pandemic until the end of 2020.The population for this study was selected from followers of a few hundred Twitter accounts of health care organizations and common HCP points of interest. We used active learning, a process that iteratively uses machine learning and manual data labeling, to select the large-scale population of Twitter accounts maintained by English-speaking HCPs, focusing on individuals rather than official organizations. We analyzed the topics and emotions in their discourses during 2020. The topic distributions were obtained using the latent Dirichlet allocation algorithm. We defined a measure of topic cohesion and described the most cohesive topics. The emotions expressed in tweets during 2020 were compared to those in 2019. Finally, the emotion intensities were cross-correlated with the pandemic waves to explore possible associations …