Skip to main content

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


Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory and prior empirical research, the current study examines the way that blogging and social networking may impact feelings of connection and social support, which in turn could impact maternal well-being (e.g., marital functioning, parenting stress, and depression). One hundred and fifty-seven new mothers reported on their media use and various well-being variables. On average, mothers were 27 years old (SD = 5.15) and infants were 7.90 months old (SD = 5.21). All mothers had access to the Internet in their home. New mothers spent approximately 3 hours on the computer each day, with most of this time spent on the Internet. Findings suggested that frequency of blogging predicted feelings of connection to extended family and friends which then predicted perceptions of social support. This in turn predicted maternal well-being, as measured by marital satisfaction, couple conflict, parenting stress, and depression. In sum, blogging may improve new mothers’ well-being, as they feel more connected to the world outside their home through the Internet.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    Perren, S., Von Wyl, A., Burgin, D., Simoni, H., & Von Klitzing, K. (2005). Depressive symptoms and psychosocial stress across the transition to parenthood: Associations with parental psychopathology and child difficulty. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 26(3), 173–183.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Leigh, B., & Milgrom, J. (2008). Risk factors for antenatal depression, postnatal depression and parenting stress. BMC Psychiatry, 8, 24–35.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Lawrence, E., Rothman, A., Cobb, R., Rothman, M., & Bradbury, T. (2008). Marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 41–50.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Beck, A. N., Cooper, C. E., McLanahan, S., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2010). Partnership transitions and maternal parenting. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 219–233.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Mistry, R. S., Vandewater, E. A., Huston, A. C., & McLoyd, V. C. (2002). Economic well-being and children’s social adjustment: The role of family process in an ethnically diverse low-income sample. Child Development, 73, 935–951.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Cooper, C. E., McLanahan, S. S., Meadows, S. O., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2009). Family structure transitions and maternal parenting stress. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 558–574.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Meadows, S. (2011). The association between perceptions of social support and maternal mental health: A cumulative perspective. Journal of Family Issues, 32, 181–208.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Salmela-Aro, K., Nurmi, J.-E., Saisto, T., & Halmesmaki, E. (2010). Spousal support for personal goals and relationship satisfaction among women during the transition to parenthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 34, 229–237.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Crnic, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Robinson, N. M., & Ragozin, A. S. (1984). Maternal stress and social support: Effects on the mother-infant relationship from birth to eighteen months. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 54, 224–235.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Rideout, V. J., Foeher, U. G., & Roberts, D. F. (2010). Generation M2: Media in the lives of 8- to 18-year-olds. Kaiser Family Foundation. Accessed online March 8, 2011.

  11. 11.

    Hall, W., & Irvine, V. (2009). E-communication among mothers of infants and toddlers in a community-based cohort: A content analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65, 175–183.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Miyata, K. (2002). Social support for Japanese mothers online and offline. In B. Wellman & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The internet in everyday life. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Sutton, J., & Pollock, S. (2000). Online activism for women’s rights. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 3, 699–706.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Youngs, G. (2001). Theoretical reflections on networking in practice: The case of the women on the net. In E. Green & A. Adam (Eds.), Virtual gender: Technology, consumption and identity (pp. 84–99). London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Pitts, V. (2004). Illness and internet empowerment: Writing and reading breast cancer in cyberspace. Health, 8, 33–59.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Nie, N., Hillygus, H. D. S., & Erbring, L. (2002). Internet use, interpersonal relations, and sociability. In B. Wellman & C. Haythornthwaite (Eds.), The internet in everyday life. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Di Maggio, P., Hargittai, E., Neumann, W. R., & Robinson, J. P. (2001). Social implications of the internet. Annual Review of Sociology, 27, 307–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Cochran, L. (2011, Feb 23). Queen of the mommy bloggers. New York Times. Accessed online March 8, 2011.

  19. 19.

    Feinberg, J. (2010, May 4). Modern moms connect by writing and reading blogs. The Patriot Ledger. Accessed online March 8, 2011.

  20. 20.

    Madge, C., & O’Connor, H. (2006). Parenting gone wired: Empowerment of new mothers on the internet? Social and Cultural Geography, 7, 199–220.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Plantin, L., & Daneback, K. (2009). Parenthood, information and support on the internet. A literature review of research on parents and professionals online. Family Practice, 10, 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Lavee, Y., Sharlin, S., & Katz, R. (1996). The effect of parenting stress on marital quality. Journal of Family Issues, 17, 114–135.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Mystry, R., Stevens, G. D., Sareen, H., De Vogli, R., & Halfon, N. (2007). Parenting-related stressors and self-reported mental health of mothers with young children. American Journal of Public Health, 97, 1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Coltrane, S. (2000). Research on household labor: Modeling and measuring the social embeddedness of routine family work. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62, 1208–1233.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Vessey, J., & Knauth, D. (2001). Marital change during the transition to parenthood. Pediatric Nursing, 27, 169.

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Coleman, P. K., & Karraker, K. H. (1998). Self-efficacy and parenting quality: Findings and future applications. Developmental Review, 18, 47–85.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Leahy-Warren, P., McCarthy, G., & Corcoran, P. (2011). First-time mothers: Social support, maternal parental self-efficacy and postnatal depression. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03701.x.

  28. 28.

    Raikes, H., & Thompson, R. (2005). Efficacy and social support as predictors of parenting stress among families in poverty. Mental Health Journal, 26, 177–190.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Bronfenbrenner, U. (1986). Ecology of the family as a context for human development. Developmental Psychology, 22, 723–742.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Harcourt, W. (2000). The personal and political: Women using the internet. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 3, 699–706.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers (pp. 1–33). Pew Internet & American Life Project. Accessed online March 8, 2011.

  32. 32.

    Marshall, N. L., & Barnett, R. C. (1993). Work-family strains and gains among two-earner couples. Journal of Community Psychology, 21, 64–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Weiss, R. (1974). The provisions of social relationships. In Z. Rubin (Ed.), Doing unto others. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Abidin, R. R. (1983). Parenting stress index manual. Charlottesville, VA: Pediatric Psychology Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Busby, D. M., Holman, T. B., & Taniguchi, N. (2001). RELATE: Relationship evaluation of the individual, family, cultural, and couple contexts. Family Relations, 50, 308–316.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. 36.

    Norton, R. (1983). Measuring marital quality: A critical look at the dependent variable. Journal of Marriage and Family, 45, 141–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. 37.

    Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–401.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. 38.

    Arbuckle, J. L., & Wothke, W. (1999). Amos 4.0 user’s guide. Chicago: Small Waters.

    Google Scholar 

  39. 39.

    Buhi, E. R., Goodson, P., & Neilands, T. B. (2007). Structural equation modeling: A primer for health behavior researchers. American Journal of Health Behavior, 31, 74–85.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  40. 40.

    Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6, 1–55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. 41.

    Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  42. 42.

    Kaye, B. K. (2005). It’s a blog, blog, blog, blog world. School of Journalism & Electronic Media, 13, 73–95.

    Google Scholar 

  43. 43.

    Descartes, L., & Kottak, C. P. (2009). Media and middle class moms: Images and realities of work and family. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  44. 44.

    Gjerdingen, D. K., Froberg, D. G., & Fontaine, P. (1991). The effects of social support on women’s health during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the postpartum period. Family Medicine, 23, 370–375.

    PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  45. 45.

    Dennis, C., & Letourneau, N. (2007). Global and relationship-specific perceptions of support and the development of postpartum depressive symptomatology. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 42, 389–395.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  46. 46.

    Howell, E. A., Mora, P., & Leventhal, H. (2006). Correlates of early postpartum depressive symptoms. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 10, 149–157.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  47. 47.

    Gross, R., & Acquisti, A. (2005). Information revelation and privacy in online social networks. In Proceedings of WPES’05 (pp. 7180). Alexandria, VA: ACM.

  48. 48.

    Dwyer, C., Hiltz, S. R., & Passerini, K. (2007). Trust and privacy concern within social networking sites: A comparison of Facebook and MySpace. In Proceedings of AMCIS. Accessed online April 6, 2011.

  49. 49.

    Mital, M., Israel, D., & Agarwal, S. (2010). Information exchange and information disclosure in social networking web sites: Mediating role of trust. Learning Organization, 17, 479–490.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. 50.

    Crnic, K. A., & Booth, C. L. (1991). Mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of daily hassles of parenting across early childhood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 53, 1042–1050.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. 51.

    Balaji, A. B., Claussen, A. H., Smith, D. C., Visser, S. N., Morales, M. J., & Perou, R. (2007). Social support networks and maternal mental health and well-being. Journal of Women’s Health, 16, 1386–1396.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  52. 52.

    Bost, K. K., Cox, M. J., Burchinal, M. R., & Payne, C. (2002). Structural and supportive changes in couples’ family and friendship networks across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 517–531.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. 53.

    Crnic, K. A., Greenberg, M. T., Ragozin, A. S., Robinson, N. M., & Basham, R. B. (1983). Effects of stress and social support on mothers and premature and full-term infants. Child Development, 54, 209–217.

    PubMed  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Brandon T. McDaniel.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McDaniel, B.T., Coyne, S.M. & Holmes, E.K. New Mothers and Media Use: Associations Between Blogging, Social Networking, and Maternal Well-Being. Matern Child Health J 16, 1509–1517 (2012).

Download citation


  • Transition to parenthood
  • Maternal well-being
  • Media use
  • Blogging
  • Social networking