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Qual Health Res. 2020 Jan;30(2):293-302. doi: 10.1177/1049732319867670. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Bipolar Disorder, Genetic Risk, and Reproductive Decision-Making: A Qualitative Study of Social Media Discussion Boards.

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Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


In this study, we present views on bipolar disorder and reproductive decision-making through an analysis of posts on Reddit™, a major Internet discussion forum. Prior research has shown that the Internet is a useful source of data on sensitive topics. This study used qualitative textual analysis to analyze posts on Reddit™ bipolar discussion boards that dealt with genetics and related topics. All thread titles over 4 years were reviewed (N = 1,800). Genetic risk was often raised in the context of Redditors' discussions about whether or not to have children. Reproductive decision-making for Redditors with bipolar was complex and influenced by factors from their past, present, and imagined future. These factors coalesced under a summative theme: for adults with bipolar disorder, what was the manageability of parenting a child? Reproductive decisions for individuals with bipolar disorder are complex, and Reddit™ is a novel source of information on their perspectives.


Bipolar disorder; genetic risk; reproductive decision-making; social media


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