Impact of Health Policies and Local Political Ideology on Spatial-temporal Patterns of Public Emotions Towards COVID-19

Doctoral Candidate Name: 
Jingjing Gao
Public Policy

Social media such as Twitter enable people to interact with each other and share health-related concerns in a new and novel way, as evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic when in-person communication became inconvenient under social-distancing policies. Little attention has been paid to the impacts of health policy and local political ideology on the trends of spatiotemporal emotions related to COVID-19. This study examines 1) the spatial-temporal clustering trends of negative emotions (or spillover effects); 2) whether health policies such as social distancing policy are associated with spatiotemporal emotion patterns towards COVID-19. This article finds that: 1) COVID-19 related negative emotions detected by social media have spillover effects and that 2) counties with staying at home policy or counties which are predominantly democratic exhibit a higher rate of negative emotional tweets toward COVID-19. These results suggest that scholars and policymakers may want to consider the impacts of interventions caused by public policy and political polarization on spatial-temporal patterns of public health concerns detected by social media.

Defense Date and Time: 
Tuesday, March 22, 2022 - 11:15am
Defense Location: 
Committee Chair's Name: 
Jason H. Windett
Committee Members: 
Benjamin J. Radford, Eric Delmelle,