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New Mothers and Media Use: Associations Between Blogging, Social Networking, and Maternal Well-Being

Blogging, but not social networking, fulfilled a means of social support to new mothers, providing feelings of connectedness and well-being.

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  • N: 157
  • Subject Ages: Mothers 27.0 years, infants 7.9 months
  • Location: Not available
  • SES: Household income of less than $50,000
  • Eligibility: All mothers had access to the Internet in their home and a baby less than 18 months old who was their first and only child
  • Additional:
    • First marriage, married an average of 3.26 years
    • Most of the mothers:
      • Were White non-Hispanic
      • Had graduated from college
    • About half of the mothers worked, some working from home, with the average number of hours worked in a week of 12.18


  1. New mothers will utilize the computer and Internet every day, with at least some of this time spent on social networking and blogging.
  2. The majority of new mothers will report reasons for blogging that align with perceptions of social support, such as maintaining contact with family and friends.
  3. Media social supports, such as blogging and social networking, will be associated with new mothers’ abilities to stay connected with others in their social network and with stronger perceptions of social support (mesosystem).
  4. Social support will be negatively related to mycrosystemic processes including parenting stress, marital conflict, and maternal depression and positively related with marital satisfaction. Decreased parenting stress is expected to be associated with decreased maternal depression and marital conflict. Marital conflict is expected to be negatively related to marital satisfaction.

Variables Measured, Instruments Used

  • Media use and daily life - author questionnaire
  • Computer and Internet use - author questionnaire
  • Reasons for blogging - measure developed by Lenhart and Fox
  • Feelings of connectedness - author questionnaire
  • Social support - the Relationships with Other People Scale
  • Parenting stress - a 30-item, modified version of the 101-item Parenting Stress Index
  • Marital conflict - select items from the RELATE assessment battery
  • Marital satisfaction - the Quality of Marriage Index (QMI)
  • Maternal depression - the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale




  1. New mothers spent approximately three hours on the computer each day, with most of this time spent on the Internet—a significant proportion of time.
  2. Findings suggested that frequency of blogging predicted feelings of connection to extended family and friends, which then predicted perceptions of social support.
  3. This in turn predicted maternal well-being as measured by marital satisfaction, couple conflict, parenting stress and depression.
  4. Conversely, unlike blogging, our results revealed that social networking was not associated with connectedness or social support.


  • Paper is exploratory in nature: This is one of the first studies to examine first-time, new mothers’ social media use, especially blogging and social networking, and the potential relationship between media use and maternal well-being.
  • Correlational research cannot establish causation.
  • Demonstrated effects may be reversed; for example, it may be that those mothers with stronger relationships tend to turn to blogging more to connect with extended family and friends. It is also possible that those with better well-being may be more or less likely to use media for social support.
  • Sample was limited and consisted of mostly white, highly educated mothers.
  • It is also important to note that blogging can be done in different domains. For example, some mothers may blog in order to connect with family and friends, while others may blog in order to connect with other parents on the Web. This study did not address this distinction.
  • Measures of media use were limited (e.g., access to social media supports on the Internet via mobile phones and other devices was not examined).