City Research Online

Virtual voices: social support and stigma in postnatal mental illness Internet forums

Moore, D. & Ayers, S. (2016). Virtual voices: social support and stigma in postnatal mental illness Internet forums. Psychology, Health and Medicine, doi: 10.1080/13548506.2016.1189580


Many women with postnatal mental illness do not get the treatment they need and this is often because stigma prevents disclosure. The purpose of this study was to explore online social support for postnatal mental illness, how women experience stigma and potential disadvantages of using Internet forums. Interviews were conducted with fifteen participants who had suffered postnatal mental illness and had used forums. Systematic thematic analysis identified common themes in relation to social support, stigma and disadvantages of using forums. Most women felt they benefited from visiting forums by developing a shared understanding and discourse about their illness. Findings suggest future research should investigate if women benefit from using online social support provided by forums, if use challenges stigma and further explore potential concerns about using forums.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Psychology, Health and Medicine on 24 May 2016, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Postnatal mental health, stigma, online social support, internet forums, postpartum depression
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Midwifery & Radiography
Text - Accepted Version
Download (250kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login