Characterizing the Differences in Descriptions of Violence on Reddit During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Concerns have been raised over the experiences of violence such as domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media such as Reddit represent an alternative outlet for reporting experiences of violence where healthcare access has been limited. This...

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Bibliographic Details
Authors: Li, Lifang (Author) ; Neubauer, Lilly (Author) ; Stewart, Robert (Author) ; Roberts, Angus (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2023
In: Journal of interpersonal violence
Year: 2023, Volume: 38, Issue: 15/16, Pages: 9290-9314
Online Access: Volltext (kostenfrei)
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Summary:Concerns have been raised over the experiences of violence such as domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media such as Reddit represent an alternative outlet for reporting experiences of violence where healthcare access has been limited. This study analyzed seven violence-related subreddits to investigate the trends of different violence patterns from January 2018 to February 2022 to enhance the health-service providers’ existing service or provide some new perspective for existing violence research. Specifically, we collected violence-related texts from Reddit using keyword searching and identified six major types with supervised machine learning classifiers: DV, IPV, physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and nonspecific violence or others. The increase rate (IR) of each violence type was calculated and temporally compared in five phases of the pandemic. The phases include one pre-pandemic phase (Phase 0, the date before February 26, 2020) and four pandemic phases (Phases 1–4) with separation dates of June 17, 2020, September 7, 2020, and June 4, 2021. We found that the number of IPV-related posts increased most in the earliest phase; however, that for COVID-citing IPV was highest in the mid-pandemic phase. IRs for DV, IPV, and emotional violence also showed increases across all pandemic phases, with IRs of 26.9%, 58.8%, and 28.8%, respectively, from the pre-pandemic to the first pandemic phase. In the other three pandemic phases, all the IRs for these three types of violence were positive, though lower than the IRs in the first pandemic phase. The findings highlight the importance of identifying and providing help to those who suffer from such violent experiences and support the role of social media site monitoring as a means of informative surveillance for help-providing authorities and violence research groups.
ISSN:1552-6518
DOI:10.1177/08862605231163885