Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Harrington


The expansion of YouTube into the mainstream media and its place as the second most-used website in the world makes it a prime place for health information seeking. However, content can be created and uploaded by anyone and thus, the threat of misinformation on YouTube is high. Medical researchers have established that videos created by health professionals on YouTube promote accurate information whereas videos by non-professionals promote generally inaccurate or misleading information. Yet, videos created by non-professionals have more views and higher relevance rankings on YouTube. To begin to understand this phenomenon, a descriptive study is used to lay a foundation for this area of health communication This study focused on the ostomy community of non-professional content creators on YouTube to. The goal of this study was to thoroughly describe the innate features of the videos using media richness theory, and to describe social support and illness narrative using the framework of social presence theory. The results from the study provide deep description into this particular community of non-professional health influencers and make way for a new line of research in the communication of health information.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)