Image of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in TV shows and movies have been studied before. However, there is no study about image of ECT on YouTube as one of the most commonly used social media platforms for disseminating health information. Our study aims to study the image of ECT in YouTube videos.
Key word “Electroconvulsive therapy and ECT” were used to search on Youtube.com and only videos over 50,000 view counts and in English were selected. Above videos were reviewed by an ECT physician and were classified into neutral, negative, and positive groups based on the image of ECT.
There were 41 YouTube videos selected based on the criteria as stated above, among which 14 were unrelated with ECT treatment, 8 were neutral, 9 were positive, and 10 were reflecting negative image about ECT. There was no significant difference among view counts of the positive, negative and neutral videos (χ2 = 2.746, P = 0.253). Furthermore, the most viewed 3 videos showed negative image of ECT. Additionally, only 6 videos showed the modified ECT and one showed both modified and nonmodified ECT.
This is the first study conducted on image of ECT in YouTube videos. We found the stigma against ECT may persist in digital video platforms, such as YouTube.