Recognizing Depression from Twitter Activity

Tsugawa, Sho; Kikuchi, Yusuke; Kishino, Fumio; Nakajima, Kosuke; Itoh, Yuichi; Ohsaki, Hiroyuki

In this paper, we extensively evaluate the effectiveness of using a user's social media activities for estimating degree of depression. As ground truth data, we use the results of a web-based questionnaire for measuring degree of depression of Twitter users. We extract several features from the activity histories of Twitter users. By leveraging these features, we construct models for estimating the presence of active depression. Through experiments, we show that (1) features obtained from user activities can be used to predict depression of users with an accuracy of 69%, (2) topics of tweets estimated with a topic model are useful features, (3) approximately two months of observation data are necessary for recognizing depression, and longer observation periods do not contribute to improving the accuracy of estimation for current depression; sometimes, longer periods worsen the accuracy.