Publication Date



With the internet expansion there is an increase use of the internet by health services and for health information. It has been suggested that online social activity can provide the opportunity to develop and maintain social associations that can be psychologically beneficial. Few studies have explored the relationship between social support and online social interactions in the online environment in the postnatal period. The aim of this study was to extend knowledge of the role of individual difference predictors (such as emotional, and psychosocial variables) in how mothers engage with each other online, and the mechanisms by which they obtain social support in the online environment; specifically, Facebook. The study used a cross sectional design using survey. In this study the nursing and midwifery team at the participating hospital established a Facebook page for mothers in 2011 to facilitate exchange of information and access to the maternal healthcare staff of the hospital. Recruitment occurred between June and December 2013 through a posting on the Facebook page inviting participants to undertake the online survey. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between time spent on Facebook and having Facebook as part of the daily schedule. Importantly, feeling part of the Facebook community was negatively correlated to scores indicating depression potential using the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression Scale and positively correlated to social connectedness scores. These findings show promise for the engagement of mothers in this type of forum for healthcare purposes.

Document Type

Open Access Conference Paper

Access Rights

Open Access