Using Publicly Available Reddit Data to Understand How Parents Choose Pediatricians

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents are increasingly using online physician rating sites to select a pediatrician. However, no studies have examined the role of social media in influencing parents’ choice of a pediatrician. The objective of this study was to qualitatively analyze what factors influence the choice of a pediatrician in an online peer support community. We retrieved retrospective data of all threads made to 4 subreddits on the Reddit social media platform between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2019. We performed qualitative analysis using an inductive approach on threads related to choosing a pediatrician. We identified several codes which were grouped into subcategories/categories and finally abstracted into themes. We retrieved a total of 179 threads and included 30 for qualitative analysis. Thematic analysis led to identification of four major themes that influence how parents choose pediatricians on a social media platform—pediatrician-specific factors, office-related factors, parent/patient factors, and social factors. An online peer support community can serve as an important source of information for parents when searching for a pediatrician. Pediatric practices should focus on providing unmet information needs to parents that will ease the burden of the search process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Consumer Health on the Internet
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • Online community
  • Reddit
  • parent
  • pediatrician
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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