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Young Adults' Mental Illness Aesthetics on Social Media

Young Adults' Mental Illness Aesthetics on Social Media
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Author(s): Somsamay Vidamaly (Taylor's University, Malaysia) and Soon Li Lee (Monash University, Malaysia)
Copyright: 2021
Volume: 11
Issue: 2
Pages: 20
Source title: International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology and Learning (IJCBPL)
Editor(s)-in-Chief: Nadia Mansour Bouzaida (University of Sousse, Tunisia & University of Salamanca, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2021040102


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Social media posts expressing mental illness such as depression are trending in today's society. The aesthetics of dark and depressing posts are highlighted in blogs or social media accounts of young individuals. Consequently, this study investigated why young people use mental illness as an aesthetic on social media. On top of that, this study contributes to the limited body of research on this subject. This study applied a method known as netnography, an analysis of social interactions online. Furthermore, the actor-network theory (ANT) was employed as an analytical tool to explore insights and draw conclusions. Seven mediators were identified as possible causes that prompted mental illness aesthetic use, including Tumblr, media, attention seekers, coping mechanism, victimhood, emo culture, and mental health awareness. These findings provided insights into developing interventions and systematic methods to discuss mental illness properly. This study also identified current challenges in social media research regarding mental illness detection.

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