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Fallon R. Mitchell, Paula M. van Wyk, and Sara Santarossa

Through user-generated posts on Instagram, Paralympians’ self-presentation may mitigate stereotypes associated with disability, counteracting negative assumptions. Using content analyses and paired t tests, visual content posted by Paralympians was examined for the portrayal of disability stereotypes. Compared with the social media content of able-bodied athletes, which typically focus on personal and lifestyle aspects, the majority of the Paralympians’ visual content depicted them engaged in sport or fitness-related activities. By posting content that depicts physical competence and elite abilities, Paralympians may change the narrative to promote the capabilities of athletes with a disability. Through the portrayal of sport and exercise engagement on social media platforms, these Paralympians are potentially mitigating disability stereotypes with the intent to curate a culture that is more accepting and inclusive.

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Fallon R. Mitchell, Sara Santarossa, and Sarah J. Woodruff

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.