Scientists create model to predict depression and anxiety using artificial intelligence and social media

April 21, 2023
A study by a group at the University of São Paulo reported in a scientific journal involved the construction of a database and models. Preliminary results are described in the article.

Researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil are using artificial intelligence (AI) and Twitter, one of the world’s largest social media platforms, to try to create anxiety and depression prediction models that could in future provide signs of these disorders before clinical diagnosis.

The study is reported in an article published in the journal Language Resources and Evaluation

Construction of a database, called SetembroBR, was the first step in the study. The name is a reference to Yellow September, an annual suicide awareness and prevention campaign, and also to the fact that data collection for the study began one day in September.

The second step is still in progress but has provided some preliminary findings, such as the possibility of detecting whether a person is likely to develop depression solely on the basis of their social media friends and followers, without taking their own posts into account.

The database compiled by the group contains information relating to a corpus of texts (in Portuguese) and the network of connections involving 3,900 Twitter users who reported having been diagnosed with or treated for mental health problems before the survey. The corpus includes all public tweets posted by these users individually (without retweets), for a total of some 47 million of these short texts.

São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) release on Newswise