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Telemed J E Health. 2018 Nov 1. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2017.0327. [Epub ahead of print]

Does Sharing Your Emotion Make You Feel Better? An Empirical Investigation on the Association Between Sharing Emotions on a Virtual Mood Wall and the Relief of Patients' Negative Emotions.

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School of Business, East China University of Science and Technology , Shanghai, China .



Emotional management is very important for patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes. Since these patients may experience strong negative emotions, it is highly desirable to develop an information technology solution for the relief of negative emotions. Recently, online health communities introduced a new design element called the virtual mood wall, which allows patients to express their emotions. We are interested in determining the association between the use of virtual mood wall and the relief of patients' negative emotions.


The main purpose of this work is to evaluate whether sharing one's emotions on the virtual mood wall is associated with the relief of the patient's negative emotions.


We used a secondary econometric analysis using transaction data from 2013 obtained from a leading online diabetes community in China, Sweat Home. A total of 572 patients were included. We compared the change in negative emotion from 1 month before to 1 month after the patient's initial post on the virtual mood wall. Multivariate regression and propensity score matching were used to estimate the effect of the virtual mood wall on the relief of patients' negative emotions.


Posting on the virtual mood wall is significantly associated with the decrease of patients' negative emotions (p < 0.001). The control variables included the initial negative emotion (p < 0.001), the summer (p < 0.05) and autumn (p < 0.05) season, and the volume of homepage visitors (p < 0.05), all of which are significantly associated with the relief of negative emotions.


This study empirically validated the positive association between the online sharing of emotions and the relief of negative emotions. We demonstrated that information technology provided a channel for sharing emotions. The virtual mood wall is an effective design element to help patients with chronic disease to recover from their negative emotions.


emotion management; negative emotion relief; propensity score matching; social media; telehealth; telemedicine; web forum


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