"Mummy-blogging" linked to improved wellbeing
It feels appropriate to kick off the Jean Hailes blog with a post about blogging:
New mothers who write blogs may feel less alone and more supported, according to US researchers. Assistant Professors Sarah Coyne and Erin Holmes of Brigham Young University and grad student Brandon T. McDaniel of Penn State University (US) used an online survey to ask 157 new, first-time mothers about their emotional wellbeing and their use of various media, including computers.
On average, the mothers reported spending about three hours per day on their computers, mostly online. 76 per cent of the mothers surveyed read web logs ('blogs'), and 61 per cent wrote their own – mostly "to document personal experiences or share them with others" and "to stay in touch with friends and family".
Those who wrote blogs reported greater connection to their family and friends and higher levels of social support, which in turn led to higher marital satisfaction, less marital conflict, reduced parenting stress and fewer feelings of depression. However, use of social networking sites like Facebook did not seem to have any significant impact on the same measures.
In a Penn State press release, McDaniel said blogging might give new mothers a way to connect with family and friends who don't live nearby, and/or an "outlet" to showcase hobbies and accomplishments (especially for stay-at-home mothers), but did not comment on why the same effect was not seen for social networking. He also cautioned that this small study cannot establish a causal link between blogging and wellbeing. For example, perhaps being closer to friends and family and/or having more social support makes mothers more likely to write blogs.
Dr Heather Rowe, Senior Research Fellow at Jean Hailes, says "social media offers new parents great opportunities to maintain social connectedness and enlist support during the early months of their baby's life, when they can feel very isolated. Participating in story-telling using blogs can reassure parents that their own experiences and worries are comparable with others, and that they're not alone. Hearing how others have survived the adjustment of caring for a newborn gives new parents hope, as well as pointers to how to manage their own difficulties more successfully."
Are you a "mummy-blogger"? What do you get out of it? Leave your comments below...
Original research paper: Matern Child Health J. 2011 Nov 18. [Epub]
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