“I think people are powerful”: The sociality of individuals managing depression

Eleanor R. Burgess, Kathryn E. Ringland, Jennifer Nicholas, Ashley A. Knapp, Jordan Eschler, David C. Mohr, Madhu C. Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Millions of Americans struggle with depression, a condition characterized by feelings of sadness and motivation loss. To understand how individuals managing depression conceptualize their self-management activities, we conducted visual elicitations and semi-structured interviews with 30 participants managing depression in a large city in the U.S. Midwest. Many depression support tools are focused on the individual user and do not often incorporate social features. However, our analysis showed the key importance of sociality for self-management of depression. We describe how individuals connect with specific others to achieve expected support and how these interactions are mediated through locations and communication channels. We discuss factors influencing participants’ sociality including relationship roles and expectations, mood state and communication channels, location and privacy, and culture and society. We broaden our understanding of sociality in CSCW through discussing diffuse sociality (being proximate to others but not interacting directly) as an important activity to support depression self-management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Communication channels
  • Depression
  • Diffuse sociality
  • Location
  • Mental health support technology
  • Relationship roles
  • Self-management
  • Sociality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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