Does exposure to hostile, aggressive social media posts increase the likelihood of a person experiencing heart disease? According to a 2015 study, this risk is real.
A research team examined language expressed on Twitter in the US and correlated it to county-level age-adjusted heart disease mortality rates.
What they found was that greater use of words related to anger, negative relationships, negative emotions and disengagement was significantly correlated with greater age-related heart disease deaths.
In fact, their model predicted heart disease mortality significantly better than a model that combined 10 common demographic, socioeconomic and health risk factors (including smoking, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity)!
They analyzed tens of millions of tweets for this study. Twitter topics that were positively correlated with county-level heart disease mortality included hostility, aggression, hate, interpersonal tension, boredom and fatigue. In other words, the counties where these topics were expressed frequently had greater incidence of heart disease deaths.
And Twitter topics that were negatively correlated with county-level heart disease mortality included skilled occupations, positive experiences and optimism. The counties where these topics were expressed frequently had significantly lesser incidence of heart disease deaths.
What does this mean for our workplaces?
In today’s three-minute video episode just for SmartBrief readers, I explain the negative impact of angry, hostile conversations in the workplace and the beneficial impact of conversations about skilled occupations, positive experiences, and optimism. What is vital is that leaders increase the frequency of positive conversations in their work culture -- and in this video I explain how to do that.
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