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Psicologia, Saúde & Doenças

Print version ISSN 1645-0086


ALVES, Stephanie; FONSECA, Ana; CANAVARRO, Maria Cristina  and  PEREIRA, Marco. Which mothers/expecting mothers use the internet for questions related to mental health?. Psic., Saúde & Doenças [online]. 2016, vol.17, n.1, pp.82-88. ISSN 1645-0086.

With the development of new information and communication technologies, searching of health information on the Internet has been growing. The aim of this study was to characterize the pattern of Internet use for questions related to health and mental health of women during the perinatal period, and to analyze the sociodemographic, clinical and eHealth literacy characteristics associated with this pattern. The sample of this cross-sectional and quantitative online survey consisted of 546 women in the perinatal period (57% at postpartum). Data on sociodemographic, clinical, and eHealth information and participatory behaviors were collected; participants also completed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and the eHealth Literacy Scale. Most participants have used the Internet for searching for psychopathological symptoms (59.9%), but less frequently for treatment options (33.5%) or mental health professionals (27.5%), and fewer interacted with these professionals online (6%). Participants with past history of psychological/psychiatric problems or treatment, with current psychological/psychiatric treatment, reporting more depressive symptoms and higher eHealth literacy levels were more likely to use the Internet for informational and participational eHealth behaviors related to mental health. Most mothers/expecting mothers used the Internet to search information about mental health, namely those with past or actual emotional difficulties. Professionals should discuss information retrieved by these women to ensure its quality and appropriate comprehension. Complementary eHealth approaches may be beneficial in the Portuguese health context.

Keywords : Internet; eHealth; Mental Health; Perinatal period.

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