If you’re the kind of mother who doesn’t think twice before posting a photo of your child on social media, then you might be depressed according to a new study.
Focusing on a specific group of mothers, the study 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 mothers are also reported to possess stronger emotional reactions to comments on the photos they posted of their new baby, such as feeling bad if they didn’t get enough positive comments.
“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,” said Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, lead author of the study and professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University.
Meanwhile, Jill Yavorsky, co-author of the study and a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State, said that the message of their 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 that they’re good moms.”
The women in the study were also not stay-at-home moms; the women have jobs outside the home that can be a source of validation, which the researchers said made the results more interesting.
They have other successes to point to for validation, but they’re not finding it there.
Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan said that their study’s results should be taken with a grain of salt; the increase in depressive symptoms doesn’t necessarily indicate depression.
However, it is important that all moms should be aware of why they are using Facebook.
“It’s great to share stories and pictures of your baby, but relying on Facebook to feel good about your parenting may be risky.”
READ: 10 alarming ways social media can hurt your child
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