P. Alasuutari, J. Cruz, A. Gray, & J. Hermes
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Population Health Research Group
The midlife years (45–55) often coincide with fundamental changes in women’s lives, as women experience transitions such as menopause, changes to family structure due to departure of children or divorce, and parents’ ageing and death. These circumstances tend to increase women’s reliance upon their social support networks. Evidence suggests that social support is critical in helping women manage transitions during the midlife period and develop a sense of self-efficacy; this article highlights that this support is being increasingly exchanged through mediated communication channels. The article presents a comparative investigation of mediated communication channels, primarily email and online chat, through which women give and receive social support, and addresses the factors underpinning women’s media choices. The findings indicate that in determining their media selection, women are judging their ‘audience’ and social context of their communication in order to select the most appropriate channel through which to exchange support.