What Does Instagram Illuminate About the Patient Experience of MRI? Exploring Themes of Anxiety and Distress.

Activity: Supervision/Examination/MentoringInternal HDR Supervision


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a cutting-edge, non-invasive, and non-
ionizing radiation imaging technique that can be utilised for both anatomical and functional applications, research and diagnoses. Although MRIs are widely utilised for diagnosis, distress and anxiety are commonly reported within the MRI experience. In particular, patient anxiety and distress were heightened during the pre-MRI period, starting from the imaging referral up to entering the MRI procedure room. Although previous literature has made an attempt to understand patient experiences of MRI, studies with specific focus on psychological themes of distress and anxiety during the pre-MRI time-period were notably missing, especially qualitative studies analysing social media data such as Instagram. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the experience of patients who report anxiety and distress during the pre-MRI period, using a research lens of constructionism. The researcher performed a manual online search of open-source data using the hash tag “#mri” in Instagram’s search engine to analyse Instagram posts. Using content analysis, eight themes were identified; Anxiety Around the Wait, Lack of Knowledge, Anticipating the MRI, Journey to the Procedure, Fear of Results, The Clinical Environment, Preparing for the MRI and Social Factors. Overall, the findings of this thesis suggest that these characteristics contribute to the anxiety and distress, in the pre-MRI time. Future research should explore why these characteristics promote anxiety and distress, interpersonal factors associated with the use of social media for expression of distress and how Instagram can inform practitioners of overall patient satisfaction.

Keywords: patient experience, mri, anxiety, distress.
PeriodMar 2022Nov 2022
ExamineeHayley Homewood
Examination held at
Degree of RecognitionNational