Researchers from the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Centre (MAPrc) are launching a study that will monitor social media behaviors of people living with bipolar disorder in hopes of preventing relapses.
The Facebook use in Affective Disorders (FAD) Study will gather metadata for when a participant is active on Facebook. Researchers will collect the time and date for when a participant posts a status update, writes a comment, likes a post, or uploads a message, but they will not be able to read the content of the activities. They are not interested in the content as much as the participants’ frequency of use.
“People with Bipolar disorder, particularly when they become manic, tend to become excessively socially engaged – the nature of the illness itself is very social, so that is a reason why we think Facebook usage is likely to increase above and beyond other forms of usage,” MAPrc Professor Paul Fitzgerald told the MailOnline.
Participants will also be asked to fill out a mood survey to see if there is a link between the user’s mood and social activity. The researchers are collecting the data in hopes of creating an application that will predict a bipolar relapse and then alert the patient as well as his or her mental health professional, family member, or care taker.
“Studies show that social media offers potential to monitor various psychiatric conditions, however, until now, there has been no application available to plug-in and draw on the information available.”
For more information, visit http://thefadstudy.com.au/.