Computational Modeling of Stigmatized Behaviour in Pro-Vaccination and Anti-Vaccination Discussions on Social Media

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Much research has been done within the social sciences on the interpretation and influence of stigma on human behaviour and health, which result in out-of-group exclusion, distancing, cognitive separation, status loss, discrimination, ingroup pressure, and often lead to disengagement, non-adherence to treatment plan, and prescriptions by the doctor. However, little work has been conducted on computational identification of stigma in general and in social media discourse in particular. In this paper, we develop the annotation scheme for stigma based on social science theories, and perform a corpus study on the data from Facebook groups on vaccination. The data from provaccination and anti-vaccination discussion groups are annotated by trained annotators and by MTurk annotators. We analyze the annotations using LIWC (Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count) software and TF-IDF in order to identify differentiating features between stigmatizing vs. non-stigmatizing content. Our corpus study lays a valuable foundation in computational modeling of social stigma, as it can serve as validation/interpretation of the social science theories through the prism of laypeople understanding. The annotated corpora can be subsequently used for automatic stigma identification. Moreover, the annotation scheme can be applied to study stigma across different themes and diseases and can be utilized during public health informational campaigns and health interventions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2019 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM)
EditorsIllhoi Yoo, Jinbo Bi, Xiaohua Hu
Number of pages9
Place of PublicationLos Alamitos, CA
Publication dateNov 2019
Article number8983311
ISBN (Print)9781728118673
ISBN (Electronic)9781728118673
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Event2019 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. BIBM 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 19 Nov 201921 Nov 2019


Conference2019 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine. BIBM 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


  • Stigma
  • Social media
  • Stigma identification
  • Annotation
  • Corpus analyses

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