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The Importance of Online Peer Relationships During the Transition to Motherhood: Do They Decrease Stress, Alleviate Depression and Increase Parenting Competence?

By Bobbie Sue Arias

Abstract

This research addressed the challenges faced by women in today\u27s society during the transition to motherhood, and explored the possible benefits of an online natural helping network of blogging peers. Given the content of the literature describing the transition to motherhood and the many hardships that pose possible obstacles for an ideal transition, this research attempted to uncover the reasons why mothers blog and what benefit, if any, they experience as a result of blogging. This study explored the following questions: Why do women blog during the transition to motherhood? What is the relationship among the seven identified variables: blogging intensity, authentic self-disclosure, perceived general social support, perceived social support from blogging, current depression, stress, and parenting competence? This dissertation employed a cross-sectional research design using a web-based survey. The data were trimmed to limit the participants to residents/citizens of the United States and mothers of preschool aged (0-5) children who lived with them four or more days per week. The data were further limited to include only those participants (N = 501) who completed the survey in its entirety. New mothers experienced benefits as a result of their authentic participation in blogging and reported key reasons that they participated including: to share their experiences with others, to preserve their memories, to interact with a like-minded audience, and to feel understood. There were significant positive correlations between authentic self-disclosure and perceived social support, and sense of parenting competency, and a negative relationship between authentic self-disclosure and maternal depression and perceived stress. Multiple regression analysis indicated that social support was the strongest predictor of current depression. Social support was also a predictor of stress and of perceived parenting competence. Additionally, social support significantly predicted authentic self-disclosure. With a growing reliance on technology and social media, social work has an obligation to identify and utilize the beneficial aspects of this medium

Topics: Motherhood -- Blogs -- Social aspects, Pregnant women -- Blogs -- Social aspects, Bloggers, Social networks, Motherhood -- Psychological aspects, Pregnant women -- Psychological aspects, Social Media, Social Work
Publisher: PDXScholar
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu:open_access_etds-3955
Provided by: PDXScholar

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