REPRESENTING RACE: THE RACE SPECTRUM SUBJECTIVITY OF DIVERSITY IN FILM
DIGITAL MEDIA USAGE ON PARENTAL MENTAL HEALTH AND PARENTING OUTCOMES
Transitions to parenthood can be difficult. This study examines digital media use among new parents as it relates to parental mental health (specifically shame, depression, and stress) and parents’ subsequent perceptions about their ability to parent (efficacy and competence). Participants included 484 mothers and 345 fathers of infant children. Both mothers and fathers reported similar average levels of all variables, with the exception of shame, for which fathers reported more shame than mothers. We then tested a structural equation model of digital media use predicting mental health outcomes, which predicted parental perceptions of efficacy and competence. Both mothers’ and fathers’ digital media use was associated with heightened depression and stress; however, these mental health symptoms manifested differently between mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of parental outcomes. Only for fathers did a mental health outcome mediate the relationship between media use and perceived ability to parent. Thus, those fathers that used more digital media were more likely to feel stressed, which was then associated with a lower perceived ability to perform well as a parent. The implications are discussed.
“I CAN MULTITASK”: THE MEDIATING ROLE OF MEDIA CONSUMPTION ON EXECUTIVE FUNCTION’S RELATIONSHIP TO TECHNOFERENCE ATTITUDES
Smartphones are ubiquitous in American lives and can interfere with parent-child relationships. This technoference, or the interruption of interpersonal time by technology, has been associated with negative parent-child interactions and can indirectly threaten child safety. Nonetheless, little is known concerning possible factors that may exacerbate parental technoference. The current study explored new parents’ media usage and technoference attitudes as they relate to executive function, or one’s ability to engage in higher cognitive processes such as attention, impulse control, and task coordination. Responses indicated that both mothers and fathers were more supportive of technoference attitudes in association with digital media use (i.e., text messaging and social media) and entertainment media use (i.e., apps, video games, TV). Regarding executive function, only for mothers was lower executive function associated with an increased acceptance of technoference attitudes, both directly and as mediated through more digital media use. These findings emphasize the importance of boosting executive functioning skills, particularly among new mothers.