Creator Research

Attendees of the Creators Summit on Mental Health stand on the steps of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

In an era where more and more of us are getting health news and information from social media, could creators help public health counter misinformation and disseminate evidence-based science?

The Center for Health Communication is conducting innovative, community-engaged research to answer this question.

In collaboration with creators and others working in the creator economy, we are building the evidence-base for the effectiveness of public health x creator partnerships. 

Our current research questions include:

How does exposure to evidence toolkits affect creators?

Our recent field experiment on TikTok showed that exposure to our public-health toolkits increased the amount of evidence-based content that creators made: These inexpensive, scalable supports can “influence the influencers” to spread evidence-based health information.

Scientific Reports - Motta Liu and yarnell

Motta, M., Liu, Y. & Yarnell, A. “Influencing the influencers:” a field experimental approach to promoting effective mental health communication on TikTok. Sci Rep 14, 5864 (2024).

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How does “influencing the influencers” affect the health beliefs and behaviors of their audiences?

We are currently using semi-automated methods to examine how our creator supports changed the mental health discourse in the hundreds of thousands of audience comments left on participating creators’ videos.

We are also collaborating with leading creators to field survey-based randomized controlled trials of social video content made with our creator supports. We are measuring how such content influences the health beliefs and behaviors of those who watch it.

How does attending events like the Creators Summit on Mental Health impact creators?

Using quantitative and qualitative methods, we are studying how creators who participated in the summit view themselves, their community, and their motivations to make content.

Xu, M., Liu, Y., Yarnell, A., Motta, M., & Robbins, R. Scientists & social media influencers: Seeding new approaches to health communication through a Creators Summit on Mental Health.  A preregistered study.
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How can we make our supports more useful to creators?

In collaboration with Social Currant, we are studying how we might optimize the delivery and format of  toolkits and briefings to inspire more creators to use them.


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