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African Americans, Social support, Internet, Mothers



  1. Hudson, Diane Brage PhD, RN
  2. Campbell-Grossman, Christie PhD, RN
  3. Keating-Lefler, Rebecca PhD, RN
  4. Carraher, Sydnie MSN, RNC-NIC, NNP-BC, APRN-NP
  5. Gehle, Jennifer MSN, RNC-NIC, NNP-BC, APRN-NP
  6. Heusinkvelt, Sally MSN, CNP


Purpose: To enhance understanding of the phenomenon of being a single, low-income, African American mother through their discussions and use of an Internet-based social support intervention.


Study Design and Methods: The New Mothers Network discussion forum was made available to 20 mothers in their homes for 6 months after the infant's birth. Nineteen mothers posted 174 messages to research nurses and to one another. Thematic analysis of the written messages was completed.


Results: The following themes emerged from discussion forum comments: (a) dealing with the father of the baby, (b) mourning losses, (c) positive and negative support, (d) financial needs and concerns, (e) career and educational goals, (f) balancing act, (g) trust issues, and (h) tuned in to baby.


Clinical Implications: The New Mothers Network allowed these African American mothers to share their experiences and assimilate information from nurses about caring for themselves and their infants. Other nurses can create similar Internet discussion forums for the purposes of providing social support to mothers who have access to computers. Computer software for creating discussion forum sites can be purchased at a reasonable cost, and some are available free of charge.