New moms seek validation on Facebook.

Position:YOUR LIFE

A study in the journal Sex Roles shows which psychological characteristics of some new mothers may affect how they use Facebook to show off their baby. The study looked at a specific group of moms--highly educated, mostly married Midwestern women who had fulltime jobs--and found that those who felt societal pressure to be perfect moms and who identified most strongly with their motherhood role posted more frequently than others to Facebook. These same mothers who posted most frequently also reported stronger emotional reactions to comments on the photos they posted of their new baby--such as feeling bad if they did not get enough positive comments.

While many new mothers are active on Facebook, these results suggest some seem to be more drawn to the site than others and may use it in less-than-healthy ways, Indicates lead author Sarah Sullivan. "If a mother is posting on Facebook to get affirmation that she's doing a good job and doesn't get all the 'likes' and positive comments she expects, that could be a problem. She may end up feeling worse."

In fact, mothers who post more on Facebook tend to report more depressive symptoms after nine months of parenthood than other moms. 'The message of the study isn't that Facebook is necessarily harmful, but that using Facebook may not be an effective platform for women to seek and gain external validation...

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