Athletes as Advocates: Influencing Eating-Disorder Beliefs and Perceptions Through Social Media

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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The present study aimed to explore the interactions and influences that occurred on Twitter after Joey Julius’s (NCAA athlete, Penn State Football) and Mike Marjama’s (MLB player, Seattle Mariners) eating-disorder (ED) diagnoses were revealed. Corresponding with the publicizing of each athlete’s ED, all publicly tagged Twitter media using @joey_julius, Joey Julius, @MMarjama, and Mike Marjama were collected using Netlytic software and analyzed. Text analysis revealed that the conversation was supportive and focused on feelings and size. Social network analysis, based on 5 network properties, showed that Joey Julius invoked a larger conversation but that both athletes’ conversations were single sided. Athlete advocacy on social media should be further explored, as it may contribute to changing societal opinion regarding social issues such as EDs.

Mitchell is an undergraduate student and Santarossa a graduate student, and Woodruff, their advisor, in the Dept. of Kinesiology, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada.

Santarossa (santaros@uwindsor.ca) is corresponding author.
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