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Recipes for Prevention: An Analysis of Intimate Partner Violence Messages on Pinterest


Social media platforms such as Pinterest are often used as venues for discussing relationships, making them ideal channels for promoting healthy relationships and preventing intimate partner violence (IPV). This is particularly relevant for IPV, which has been historically understood as a personal issue and lacked support as a significant public health issue. To explore its potential as a platform for prevention, this study examines the ways in which IPV messages on Pinterest reflect public health understandings of, and approaches to, prevention, and how Pinterest users engage with these posts. We analyzed 750 Pinterest posts about IPV using the Social Ecological Model as a theoretical framework for conceptualizing framing devices. The majority of pins (82.9%) used contextually focused thematic framing, while only 8.0% used individually focused episodic framing, and 4.4% used both. The predominance of thematic framing is contrary to findings in examinations of traditional media portrayals of IPV and is likely to facilitate sharing information and education about IPV. However, posts that mention individual causal attribution and individual solution responsibility elicit more engagement than pins that do not. Overall, the Pinterest sample was more reflective of the range of IPV experiences than previous, older analyses of traditional media content, possibly indicating that the public health approach to this issue is gaining momentum. Encouragingly, the study showed increased engagement with posts that discuss psychological abuse, indicating a potentially promising transition from an emphasis on physical abuse to the neglect of psychological abuse. Although Pinterest does still show some stereotypical portrayals of IPV similar to traditional media stories, it also shows much promise for shifting the narrative around IPV in line with the current public health approach and public health professionals should be encouraged to enter the dialogue on IPV on Pinterest.

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