Parental Mental Health ICA Presentation

Slide 1: Title Slide

Hello, my name is Jesse and I will be talking about “Parental uses of social media, apps, and texting on mental health and self-efficacy.”

Slide 2: Background

Just give some background, we wanted to do this study because the transition to parenthood is a difficult time, and it has been associated with difficult emotions such as increased stress. There’s also postpartum depression that that people experience. 

We wanted to look at the influence or association or relationship that those feelings have with media use.

Media is a big part of our lives, and so it is normal that media use would be interrupted by having these new experiences of parenthood.

The current literature talks about the difference between maladaptive and then more positive, helpful, beneficial use of media for parents. And so the maladaptive media would be when you’re going through and just kind of passively scrolling, perhaps to pass time or to escape and not really engaging.

More positive uses of media that have been associated with more positive mental health have been actually actively participating, conversing with people, and finding support groups. 

Much of the literature on parents talks about how mothers, and one study on fathers, have been able to find social support for their parenting issues online. And so we wanted to look at how that would be related to this transition. 

This study look specifically at new parents who have newborns around six months old. So we want to look at their specific experience and how those feelings are associated with parental efficacy. 

Some of the past research has shown that media use can be associated with perceptions of parental competence, which is similar to parental efficacy, which is one’s feeling that they are able to perform parental activities, such as caring for their child. 

And so we wanted to see if mental health would mediate those two variables. We looked at this through the lens of the time budget theory, which says that people allocate their time based on the level of demand that different activities place on them. So we’re going to use that as our framework. 

Slide 3: Hypotheses

through the literature we came up with these four hypotheses, the first being that 1) the frequency of parental media use will be positively related to parental perceptions of shame, depression, and stress; 2) parental shame, depression, stress mediate the relationship between media use and parental perceptions about efficacy; 3) parental shame, depression, and stress will be negatively related to parental perceptions of efficacy; and then finally, 4) that media use will be inversely related to parental efficacy.

Slide 4: Method

So for our methodology we did surveys for mothers and fathers with 484 mothers and 345 fathers—some of them paired of some of them were not.

And I’ll talk later about how we decided to incorporate them in our model, but we use these five measures. So the first was media use, a variable that included texting, social media, and apps. The next shame and depression and stress and parental efficacy. The reason we use texting, social media, and apps was those are the ones that, when we performed our CFA, were most clearly aligned, statistically. 

The reason we ended up using mothers and fathers separately as separate models was because these types of media are typically ones that people use on their own. It’s not a communal media such as TV where you might watch together. And so we want to look at their individual media use and how that influenced their own personal perceptions of their parental efficacy.

Slide 5: Table 1

So we did some preliminary statistics and we saw there’s something going on here. So we decided to move forward with our models. You’ll see the upper-right diagonal, those are mothers and then the lower-right diagonal are fathers.

Slide 6: Method Continued

So we decided to do structural equation modeling for this. We did our fit statistics and for mothers and fathers, we found that they were satisfactory.

Slide 7: Model for Mothers

So first we’ll start with mothers and look at their results. You can see the relationships by the solid lines, and the ones that were not associations with dotted lines. Then you’ll see what level they were significant. 

So for mothers, you’ll see there was significance between media use and stress. Media use and stress, 0.13; Media use and depression, 0.23. And we see correlations between the mental health variables.

Slide 8: Model for Fathers

For fathers it was a little different. We still saw a relationship between media use and stress, but there is no relationship between media use and depression.

Different though, there was a direct a direct relationship to media use and efficacy. So we’ll talk about why that might be for fathers.

Slide 9: Implications

So implications and discussion of these results for mothers: We saw the media use associated only with depression and stress. There were no mediating results, which was an interesting finding but for mothers. Perhaps that might be because they are seeking social support from others. Other studies have found that mothers are apt to do this. And so we’re wondering if—we can’t say what direction these variables are related, but it’s possible that mothers and stressed or  maybe depression and are not having as many in person interactions after the birth of a child or something like that, they are using media to seek out social support from others to kind of mitigate those feelings of depression and stress that come with this big transition in their lives. 

And then fathers, their media use was associated with stress and parental efficacy. And so for that relationship, we saw that perhaps me it was being used as a distraction, as the literature shows stress. And so perhaps they use media as an escape or distraction. Or it’s possible they’re foregoing these face-to-face interactions and getting that support that they need to feel that they can effectively parent. And so for fathers, especially, we see that media is associated with the self-efficacy—that, you know, they perceive that they are less efficacious. And so they go to media as a distraction and escape from that stress or the other way around. But these are important implications to think about when counseling new fathers about birth and the expectations for that, that time.

And we saw, you know, of course, as in previous literature that shame is associated with parental self-efficacy, but it was not mediating. And so we wonder—looking back at our measures—if perhaps this is because of how the shame was measured. So our measure of shame was more long term, general shame rather than situationally-based shame. And so we would suggest that future researchers use a more situationally-based shame to look at the influence of media on situational shame and situational shame dealing with parenting specifically.

And so these are our findings, and we believe that going forth in the future it’s important to know about these experiences of these new parents and their experiences with media and mental health and their perceptions of their own abilities as parents.

Slide 10: Thank you

And if you have any questions, feel free to comment and we’d love to respond to those and get some feedback from you all. Thank you.