Using Twitter to Predict Onset of Depression

A team of psychologists in Trinity College Dublin are conducting a study that aims to find links between different mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are aiming to do this in a large sample of people using patterns of Twitter use and the kind of language used in Tweets.

What are we trying to do?

We are interested in using language and patterns of Twitter use to better understand psychiatric illness. Our hope is that in doing so we can one day be able to help doctors provide treatments earlier and improve patient follow-up.

What will happen if I volunteer?

If you agree to be in this study, you will be asked to do the following:

1. Provide some general demographic information about yourself, (e.g. your age, gender).

2. Complete a series of nine questionnaires related to mental health

3. Answer if you have ever been diagnosed with depression

4. Tell us the dates of periods when you were depressed in the past year

5. Provide your Twitter handle.

Your data will only be used for scientific purposes and not shared with any third parties.

Are there any risks involved in participating?

There are no known risks associated with your participation in this research, however the questionnaires deal with potentially sensitive issues relating to mental health.

If I decide to join the study, what are my rights?

Participation in this study is completely voluntary and if you agree to participate you have the following rights:


Information from this study will be kept strictly confidential. To keep your information private and secure, your Tweets and any other identifiable information (e.g. your name, email) will be stored separately from the information you provide about your current and past mental health. We will only connect these data together in a processed format in which it won't be possible to identify you, personally. These data will be kept in password-protected computer and on dedicated Trinity College server space managed by our High-Performance Computing Center. Any identifying information will be stored in an encrypted form and will not be made available to any person outside the research group. We will aim to present and publish our results in conferences and scientific journals, as well as to share the data collected in this study with other researchers so that they can test novel hypotheses in the future, but we will do so in a way that any identifying information will never leave the lab.

Please Note: You will be asked to provide informed consent and indicate that you have read and understood the Information Sheet that you will find attached below.

You can also find more information HERE

Who can I contact if I have any questions?

You can contact:

Sean Kelley (PhD Student) Postal address: School of Psychology, Aras an Phiarsaigh, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2


Tel: 353-01-896-852I

Claire Gillan (Principal Investigator) Postal address: School of Psychology, Aras an Phiarsaigh, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2


Tel: 353-01-896-8526