Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Social networks and increases in anxiety about motherhood.

Research from Ohio State University may make new moms reconsider why they use Social Networks to post about their children – particularly the impact of frequent posting by some and increases in anxiety about motherhood.
The results (the study has some with important limitations) published in Sex Roles, found that when women felt more societal pressure to be perfect mothers and viewed motherhood as central to their identity, they were more likely to share child-related updates and photos. The majority of mums in the study did use their baby's image as a profile photo at some point.

The mothers who strove for perfection as parents and sought external validation for their maternal role also expressed stronger emotional responses — both positive and negative — to the frequency and nature of their friends' likes and comments.
That relationship with Facebook may have come at a cost. Nine months after giving birth, those same mothers reported more depressive symptoms like having a poor appetite, not being able to shake off the blues and experiencing restless sleep.

The study couldn't pinpoint a cause-and-effect dynamic between a new mum's desire for validation, her increased Facebook use and a greater risk for symptoms of depression, but the researchers believe there could be a direct link.

Like with any personal social media post, users are trying to carefully craft their identity. New mothers, in particular, encounter unyielding expectations about how they should behave, which can feel magnified on a platform like Facebook. They may feel pressure to adhere to impossibly high parenting standards, and turn to Facebook for both support in meeting those expectations and validation that they're fulfilling a stereotypical maternal role.

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