Ethnic origin and health participation on social media: a test and an extension of social diversification hypothesis

Dennis Rosenberg, Rita Mano, Gustavo S. Mesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Studies investigating ethnic inequalities in the Internet use relied on the social diversification hypothesis, according to which minority ethnic groups are more likely than the majority group to use the Internet for various purposes in order to expand their scope of social capital. Yet ethnic inequalities in health-related social media use have received less academic attention. In addition, members of minority groups reside in localities of various size and thus are assumed to have different scope of social capital. The main goal of this study was to test the social diversification hypothesis by considering the size of the localities, in which Israeli Arab population reside, regarding health participation on social media. Method: The data for the current study, which represented the part of the research project studying the association between health-related social media use and health behavior changes, was collected via telephone survey. The sample consisted of social media users in Israel (N = 798). Logistic regression was used for the multivariate analysis. Results: Arabs residing in small localities are more likely to discuss the work of health professionals or institutions on social media, and use Facebook, Twitter or similar sites for health participation to a greater extent than Israeli-born Jews. Conclusions: Residing in small localities motivates increased health participation on social media. This signals a major need for accessible information for members of minority group residing in such localities. Policy makers should develop extensive plans in order to mitigate ethnic differences in health by including, among other things, provision of updated and relevant information for the minority population via social media.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)333-342
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Communication in Healthcare
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnicity
  • health inequalities
  • health participation
  • locality size
  • social diversification
  • social media

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Communication
  • Health Information Management


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