Even for well-prepared couples, the transition to parenthood can be downright stressful.
Now a study offers some encouraging news: Blogging may be helping new moms.
Based on research with 157 first-time mothers, former BYU student Brandon McDaniel and his two faculty mentors found that blogging was related to lower parenting stress and marital conflict.
“Much more research is needed to come up with conclusive evidence, but at least for now it appears that first-time mothers who participate in blogging show greater levels of connection with family and friends, increased feelings of support, and more positive outcomes overall,” McDaniel said.
The new study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Fittingly, his wife runs a craft blog called “Patches of Pink” that served as a creative outlet and a way to connect with other moms following the birth of the McDaniel’s child.
All of the new moms in the study had Internet access at home, and half of the mothers were employed. While the researchers found that moms benefited from blogging in several different ways, each benefit appeared to flow through increased feelings of social support.
“Social support is one of those ‘Golden Variables’ that positively influence many other measures of well-being, including relationship satisfaction, stress levels and mental health,” said Erin Holmes, a professor of family life at BYU who co-authored the study with McDaniel.
The study authors caution that the study results are exploratory in nature. For example, it’s possible that women with stronger relationships have a greater tendency to blog.
“Even if this were the case, we hypothesize that blogging or reaching out to extended family and friends would reciprocally increase their perceptions of social support, as social support has been linked by prior research to a variety of maternal well-being outcomes,” the authors wrote.
These days the McDaniel family is based in Pennsylvania while Brandon pursues a Ph.D. in human development and family studies from Penn State.
“This and other projects opened up so many doors for me,” said McDaniel, noting that he got accepted to every grad school on his wish list. “Really becoming involved in research as an undergraduate student – not just superficially involved – acted as a springboard for my career.”
McDaniel also maintains a blog called “Notes on Parenting” where you’ll find more details about the new study in this guest post.