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Wiedicke, Annemarie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1890-9699; Reifegerste, Doreen; Temmann, Linn Julia and Scherr, Sebastian (2022): Verbal and Visual Framing of Responsibility for Type 1 Diabetes by Patient Influencers on Instagram. In: Social Media + Society, Vol. 8, No. 4: pp. 1-13 [PDF, 590kB]


Visuals remain understudied in health-related framing research. On Instagram, users who have been patients of long-term health conditions, such as type 1 diabetes (T1D), and who regularly share their experiences with a wider audience, that is, patient influencers, have become an increasingly important source of health information. Both their verbal and visual portrayal of health issues and how they frame causal and treatment responsibility for them matters for the public perception of health and illness. We aimed at determining how patient influencers verbally and visually portray T1D on Instagram, thus incorporating verbal and visual frame analysis by conducting a multimethod study. Combining insights from a qualitative image sorting study (N = 168 images) and a quantitative content analysis of N = 280 posts by German patient influencers on Instagram, we show that these influencers frequently share how they feel about their illness and verbally emphasize individual treatment responsibilities. Visually, they mostly share images of their diabetes devices, such as insulin pumps. Overall, the visuals used on Instagram tend to enhance the verbal responsibility frames in the captions, with one specific visual frame attributing individual treatment responsibility.

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