The restructuring of roles, responsibilities, and relationships that occurs during the transition to parenthood brings both rewards and challenges to first-time mothers (Bartholomew, Schoppe-Sullivan, Glassman, Dush, & Sullivan, 2012; Horowitz & Damato, 1999) and is often characterized as a time of parental stress (Crnic & Low, 2002; Deater-Deckard, 1998; Leigh & Milgrom, 2008). To effectively manage this stress, first-time mothers must feel a sense of social support (Crnic, Greenberg, Ragozin, Robinson, & Basham, 1983; Cutrona, 1984; Gao, Chan, & Mao, 2009; McDaniel, Coyne, Holmes, 2012; Nakagawa, Teti, & Lamb, 1992). In today's technology-driven era, this essential sense of support may be conveniently achieved through social media.Currently, research on the ability for social media platforms to increase perceptions of social support and, therefore, decrease parental stress among first-time mothers presents varied conclusions (see Bartholomew et al, 2012; McDaniel et al., 2012). The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to propose variables that may explain these results. Specifically, it analyzes how both active production and passive consumption of social media influence perceptions of social support and parental stress in first-time mothers. The results reveal that for first-time mothers, production on social media can lead to increased social media–based feedback, which can then lead to increased perceptions of appraisal support. Passive consumption of social media content neither increases nor decreases perceptions of social support.



College and Department

Fine Arts and Communications; Communications



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transition to parenthood, social support, parental stress, social media

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Communication Commons