A small, exploratory study suggests that social media may be a new way for parents to get the support they need during this stressful period of transition.
PROBLEM: First-time moms and dads juggle many new demands after their baby arrives. How does parenthood affect their use of Facebook?
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METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Mitchell K. Bartholomew surveyed 154 mothers and 150 fathers, most of whom were white and highly educated, nine months after their child's birth about their Facebook use, stress, satisfaction, and parenting self-efficacy.
RESULTS: Mothers, who reported using Facebook more than their partners, tended to increase their online activity after giving birth. Those who visited and managed their accounts more frequently reported higher levels of parenting stress. They reported greater satisfaction with their new role, however, when a greater proportion of their Facebook friends were family members or relatives. Fathers, on the other hand, reported better parental adjustment when their Facebook friends tended to be people they also interact with in real life.