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Community-based Internet forums are great for new mothers, but could marginalize fathers
Date:1/22/2009

ide the home, nine per cent worked at home for pay and 14 per cent were on maternity leave.

The researchers found that the women used the online support group to:

  • Develop community connections in the small geographical area that the membership covered. It was used to share information about accessing community programmes and classes, suggest and share the names of service providers, organise dates for events, sell or trade children's items, share videos and plan get-togethers.

  • Request and provide emotional support. The women shared their stories, experiences and feelings, expressed sympathy, thanked others for their help and talked about their beliefs and expectations. For example they discussed practical issues, like breastfeeding, finding child care, teething and healthcare experiences, and emotional issues, like how they felt about going back to work.

  • Share information that they had gleaned from websites, reading or care providers, and learn. For example, they talked about the best ways to get their babies to sleep, useful websites and books they had discovered or advice they had been given by their healthcare provider on issues such as milk allergies. They also helped other members whose computer skills were less developed.

  • Normalise the experiences they were having with their babies and as mothers. The women found it helpful to discuss problems and compare notes about problems as it made them realise that other mothers had similar issues. They also talked about how they had solved problems, the advice they had received and how their experiences would change as their children developed.

The authors have pointed out that the experiences of mothers on a tightly-knit geographical forum could be more similar than women on a website that draws membership from diverse communities across the world.

"The mothers who became part of this online community obviously drew great benefit
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Contact: Annette Whibley
wizard.media@virgin.net
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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