Motherhood models identified in Facebook groups and pages in Portugal

Filipa César, Alexandra Oliveira, Anne-Marie Fontaine


Nowadays, online social networks are important sources of informal support for mothers due to their accessibility and extensive information on childrearing and motherhood performance. This study aims to identify the current motherhood model prevalent in Portuguese Facebook, namely through its groups and pages concerning motherhood. In October 2015, a search was performed by using the words mother and motherhood, followed by other “snowballed” found sites, allowing the identification of 132 Public Pages, 47 Closed Groups and 5 Public Groups (N=184). Their descriptions were submitted to a content analysis in which goals, attitudes, feelings and practices attributed to mothers and spread by Facebook were identified. Results show that the conveyed motherhood model assumes the centrality of the child, and of its needs and interests, and assigns high levels of demand to the mother. Women’s needs are not mentioned, seeming to disappear behind the maternal role. The study confirms the predominance of an intensive motherhood model in Portuguese Facebook.


Motherhood, Facebook, Social models.


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