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Does Social Support Predict Pregnant Mothers’ Information Seeking Behaviors on an Educational Website?


We examine how social support (perceived support and support from a spouse, or committed partner) may influence pregnant women’s information seeking behaviors on a pregnancy website. We assess information seeking behavior among participants in a trial testing the effectiveness of a web-based intervention for appropriate gestational weight gain. Participants were pregnant women (N = 1,329) recruited from clinics and private practices in one county in the Northeast United States. We used logistic regression models to estimate the likelihood of viewing articles, blogs, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and resources on the website as a function of perceived social support, and support from a spouse or relationship partner. All models included socio-demographic controls (income, education, number of adults and children living at home, home Internet use, and race/ethnicity). Compared to single women, women who were married or in a committed relationship were more likely to information seek online by viewing articles (OR 1.95, 95 % CI [1.26–3.03]), FAQs (OR 1.64 [1.00–2.67]), and blogs (OR 1.88 [1.24–2.85]). Women who felt loved and valued (affective support) were more likely to seek information by viewing articles on the website (OR 1.19 [1.00–1.42]). While the Internet provides a space for people who have less social support to access health information, findings from this study suggest that for pregnant women, women who already had social support were most likely to seek information online. This finding has important implications for designing online systems and content to encourage pregnant women with fewer support resources to engage with content.

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  1. The pregnancy website was developed by professional developers with extensive feedback from pregnant women using a series of intercept surveys, in-depth interviews and focus groups. A four-week usability pilot was conducted with the final website prior to data collection for this study.

  2. BMI is weight in pounds multiplied by 703 and divided by height measured in inches squared.


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This research was supported by funding from the National Institute of Health: HL096760-4 from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the sponsors.

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Correspondence to Jamie Guillory.

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Guillory, J., Niederdeppe, J., Kim, H. et al. Does Social Support Predict Pregnant Mothers’ Information Seeking Behaviors on an Educational Website?. Matern Child Health J 18, 2218–2225 (2014).

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  • Spousal support
  • Perceived social support
  • Pregnancy
  • Online information seeking