Social networking site (SNS) use by adolescent mothers: Can social support and social capital be enhanced by online social networks? – A structured review of the literature
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Aims and objectives: to critically appraise the available literature and summarise the evidence relating to adolescent mothers' use of social networking sites in terms of any social support and social capital they may provide and to identify areas for future exploration. Background social networking sites have been demonstrated to provide social support to marginalised individuals and provide psycho-social benefits to members of such groups. Adolescent mothers are at risk of; social marginalisation; anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms; and poorer health and educational outcomes for their children. Social support has been shown to benefit adolescent mothers thus online mechanisms require consideration. Design a review of original research articles Method key terms and Boolean operators identified research reports across a 20-year timeframe pertaining to the area of enquiry in: CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Medline, Scopus, ERIC, ProQuest, PsychINFO, Web of Science, Health Collection (Informit) and Google Scholar databases. Eight original research articles met the inclusion criteria for this review. Findings studies demonstrate that adolescent mothers actively search for health information using the Internet and social networking sites, and that social support and social capital can be attributed to their use of specifically created online groups from within targeted health interventions. Use of a message board forum for pregnant and parenting adolescents also demonstrates elements of social support. There are no studies to date pertaining to adolescent mothers' use of globally accessible social networking sites in terms of social support provision and related outcomes. Conclusions further investigation is warranted to explore the potential benefits of adolescent mothers' use of globally accessible social networking sites in terms of any social support provision and social capital they may provide.