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Journal Description

JMIR Pediatrics and Parenting (JPP) is a new sister journal of JMIR (the leading open-access journal in health informatics, Impact Factor 2017: 4.671). JPP has a unique focus on technologies, medical devices, apps, engineering, informatics applications for patient/parent education, training, counselling, behavioral interventions, preventative interventions and clinical care for pediatric and adolescent populations or child-parent dyads. JPP recognizes the role of patient- and parent-centered approach in the 21st century using information and communication technologies to optimize pediatric and adolescent health outcomes.

As an open access journal, we are read by clinicians, patients and, parents/caregivers alike. We, as all JMIR journals, have a focus on applied science reporting the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. We publish original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews). JPP has no submission fee. 

Be a founding author of this new journal and submit your paper today!


Recent Articles:

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: Freepik; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Online Information About Periviable Birth: Quality Assessment


    Background: Over 20,000 parents in the United States face the challenge of participating in decisions about whether to use life support for their infants born on the cusp of viability every year. Clinicians must help families grasp complex medical information about their baby’s immediate prognosis as well as the risk for significant long-term morbidity. Patients faced with this decision want supplemental information and frequently seek medical information on the Internet. Empirical evidence about the quality of websites is lacking. Objective: We sought to evaluate the quality of online information available about periviable birth and treatment options for infants born at the cusp of viability. Methods: We read a counseling script to 20 pregnant participants that included information typically provided by perinatal and neonatal providers when periviable birth is imminent. The women were then asked to list terms they would use to search the Internet if they wanted additional information. Using these search terms, two reviewers evaluated the content of websites obtained via a Google search. We used two metrics to assess the quality of websites. The first was the DISCERN instrument, a validated questionnaire designed to assess the quality of patient-targeted health information for treatment choices. The second metric was the Essential Content Tool (ECT), a tool designed to address key components of counseling around periviable birth as outlined by professional organizations. DISCERN scores were classified as low quality if scores were 2, fair quality if scores were 3, and high quality if scores were 4 or higher. Scores of 6 or higher on the ECT were considered high quality. Interreviewer agreement was assessed by calculated kappa statistic. Results: A total of 97 websites were reviewed. Over half (57/97, 59%) were for-profit sites, news stories, or personal blogs; 28% (27/97) were government or medical sites; and 13% (13/97) were nonprofit or advocacy sites. The majority of sites scored poorly in DISCERN questions designed to assess the reliability of information presented as well as data regarding treatment choices. Only 7% (7/97) of the websites were high quality as defined by the DISCERN tool. The majority of sites did not address the essential content defined by the ECT. Importantly, only 18% of websites (17/97) indicated that there are often a number of reasonable approaches to newborn care when faced with periviable birth. Agreement was strong, with kappa ranging from .72 to .91. Conclusions: Most information about periviable birth found on the Internet using common search strategies is of low quality. News stories highlighting positive outcomes are disproportionately represented. Few websites discuss comfort care or how treatment decisions impact quality of life.

  • Source: Max Pixel; Copyright: Max Pixel; URL:; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Concerns of Female Adolescents About Menarche and First Sexual Intercourse: Mixed Methods Analysis of Social Media Questions


    Background: Adolescents use social media for information on medical and social aspects of maturation. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the concerns and information needs of adolescents regarding menarche and first sexual intercourse. Methods: Questions about menarche or first sexual intercourse were obtained from Yahoo Answers, a community-based social media question-and-answer website. A total of 1226 questions were analyzed. We focused on 123 question pairs made by users who asked questions on both topics and reported their ages at each. Quantitative and qualitative analyses were performed on these question pairs. Results: Qualitative analysis identified uncertainty as a significant theme for both menarche and first intercourse. Quantitative analysis showed that uncertainty was expressed in 26% (13/50) of menarche questions and 14% (7/50) of intercourse questions. Lack of communication was expressed in 4% (2/50) of menarche questions, compared with 8% (4/50) of intercourse questions. Ages at menarche and at first sexual intercourse were correlated, with women reporting menarche at the age of 13 years or younger being 2.6 times more likely to experience first sexual intercourse before the age of 16 years (P<.001, chi-square test). Older age at menarche was associated with greater lack of communication with parents (analysis of variance, P=.002). Conclusions: The questions of adolescents on the topics of menarche and first sexual intercourse express anxiety and uncertainty and are associated with a lack of information and deficient communication with parents. The more normative and expected a behavior, the less these factors appear. Therefore, parents and educators should, to the extent possible, improve communication around these topics, especially when they occur at less typical ages.

  • Source: Rawpixel; Copyright: roungroat; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Advancing Optimal Development in Children: Examining the Construct Validity of a Parent Reflective Functioning Questionnaire


    Background: Parental reflective functioning (PRF) is the capacity parents have to understand their own mental states and those of their children, as well as the influence of those mental states on behavior. Parents with greater capacity for PRF are more likely to foster secure attachment with their children. The Parental Development Interview is a gold standard measure of PRF but is hampered by cost, training, and length of administration. The 18-item Parent Reflective Functioning Questionnaire (PRFQ-18) is a simpler option developed to capture 3 types of PRF: (1) prementalizing, (2) parent’s certainty, and (3) interest and curiosity surrounding a child’s mental state. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the factor structure and select psychometric properties of the PRFQ in a sample of Canadian parents. Methods: We examined the factor structure and discriminant and construct validity of the PRFQ-18 among 306 parents (males=120 and females=186) across Canada; the age range of children was 0 to 12 years. Parents also completed Web-based measures of perceived stress, parental coping, parenting competence, and social support. Results: A confirmatory factor analysis confirmed the hypothesized 3-factor structure of the PRFQ-18 providing evidence that the PRFQ-18 may be a useful and practical measure of PRF in Canadian adults and showed minor revisions may improve the suitability of the PRFQ-18 for assessing PRF. Conclusions: These results add support for the construct validity of the PRFQ-18.

  • First-time parents breastfeeding a newborn. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Features and Educational Content Related to Milk Production in Breastfeeding Apps: Content Analysis Informed by Social Cognitive Theory


    Background: Low milk production is one of the main reasons for premature breastfeeding cessation. Smartphone apps have the potential to assist mothers with promoting, interpreting, tracking, or learning about milk production. It is not known whether breastfeeding apps contain high-quality, engaging, and diverse content and features that could be used by mothers to increase their breastfeeding self-efficacy and answer their questions about milk production. Objective: The overarching objective of this study was to identify and evaluate features and content within breastfeeding apps that could be used by mothers to increase breastfeeding self-efficacy and answer their questions about milk production. The secondary objectives were to quantify the diversity of representation of breastfeeding experiences within breastfeeding apps and to define the type of organization that is most likely to create free apps and/or apps with high-quality, engaging, and diverse features and content related to milk production. Methods: Breastfeeding apps were identified in the Apple App Store. All features that assist mothers with tracking, promoting, or interpreting milk production in the first 0-6 months postpartum were noted. Every screen containing educational information about milk production was identified and saved for review. Images of mothers and caretakers within the selected screenshots were assessed. Three scoresheets informed by Social Cognitive Theory were created to evaluate all identified features, educational content, and images representing the breastfeeding experience. Results: Forty-one breastfeeding apps were reviewed. Only seven apps contained both features and educational content related to milk production. Thirteen apps that contained educational content related to milk production received a mean combined content and cultural diversity score of 15.3 of 78. Of the 48 photos reviewed in screenshots that contained educational content on milk production, 87.5% (n=42) were of white women and their infants. For-profit companies and large organizations were most likely to create free apps and apps that received high scores on the combined content and diversity or features scoresheet, respectively. Conclusions: Features and educational content related to milk production and breastfeeding imagery within breastfeeding apps were evaluated using three novel scoresheets informed by Social Cognitive Theory. Few apps contained both features that promote breastfeeding self-efficacy and high-quality, engaging, educational content with images of diverse caretakers. Thus, it is likely that parents, especially those from minority or low-income groups, have limited options when selecting a breastfeeding app. App developers could use the scoresheets and findings in this review to develop breastfeeding apps that assist mothers with interpreting, tracking, or learning about milk production through high-quality and engaging features, content, and imagery.

  • Source: Jisc; Copyright: Jisc and Matt Lincoln; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    A 4-Week Electronic-Mentoring Employment Intervention for Youth With Physical Disabilities: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Youth with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty and be unemployed compared with youth without disabilities. Such trends are often a result of a lack of support, inaccessible jobs, environmental barriers, and discriminatory attitudes toward people with disabilities. Youth with disabilities also face barriers in accessing vocational preparation programs. One encouraging way that could help address challenges that youth encounter is by providing support through electronic mentoring (e-mentoring). Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the feasibility of a 4-week Web-based peer e-mentoring employment intervention for youth with physical disabilities. Methods: We conducted a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate our intervention, Empowering youth towards employment. Participants included youth aged 15 to 25 years who were randomly assigned to an experimental (mentored) or control (nonmentored) group. Our intervention involved having trained youth mentors (ie, near peers who also had a disability) lead Web-based discussion forums while offering peer support and resources, which involved 12 modules (3 topics a week for 4 weeks). Primary outcomes focused on implementation (ie, feasibility and acceptability), whereas secondary outcomes focused on effectiveness (ie, measures of self-determination, career maturity, and social support). Results: A total of 28 youth (mean age 19.62, SD 3.53; 14/28, 50% female) completed the RCT in 3 intervention groups and 2 control groups (intervention n=18, control n=10). Participants reported satisfaction with the program and that it was feasible and acceptable. Youth’s mean engagement level with the program was 6.44 (SD 2.33) for the experimental group and 5.56 (SD 3.53) for controls. Participants in the intervention group did not demonstrate any significant improvements in social support, career maturity, or self-determination compared with those in the control group. No adverse events were reported. Conclusions: The Empowering youth towards employment e-mentoring intervention needs further testing with a larger sample and different length of formats to understand how it may have an impact on employment outcomes for youth with disabilities. Trial Registration: NCT02522507; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Source: Freepik; Copyright: phduet; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Personalized eHealth Transition Concept for Adolescents With Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Design of Intervention


    Background: Transfer from pediatric to adult care is a crucial period for adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Objective: Our aim was to develop a personalized transition-transfer concept including relevant tools in an established eHealth (electronic health) program. Methods: Required transition skills and validated patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were identified via bibliographic search and clinical experience and were implemented into an existing eHealth program. Results: The following skills were identified: disease knowledge, social life, disease management, and making well-informed, health-related decisions. The PROMs included the following: self-efficacy (the IBD Self-Efficacy Scale—Adolescents), resilience (the 10-item Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale), response to stress (the Child Self-Report Responses to Stress—IBD), and self-management and health care transition skills (the Self-Management and Transition to Adulthood with Treatment questionnaire). Starting at age 14, the patient will be offered a 1-hour annual transition consultation with an IBD-specialized nurse. The consultation will be based on the results of the PROMs and will focus on the patient's difficulties. Patients will complete the PROMs on the eHealth program at home, allowing nurses and patients to prepare for the meeting. Symptom scores and medication will be filled out on the eHealth program to support disease self-management. The consultation will be a topic-centered dialogue with practical exercises. During routine outpatient visits with the provider, parents will be left out of half of the consultation when the patient is 16 years old; at 17 years old, the parents will not be present. At the transfer consultation, the pediatric provider, the adult gastroenterologist, the pediatric nurse, the patient, and the parents will be present to ensure a proper transfer. Conclusions: We have conducted a personalized eHealth transition concept consisting of basic elements that measure, train, and monitor the patients' transition readiness. The concept can be implemented and adjusted to local conditions.

  • VR MRI preparation resource. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Jonathan Ashmore; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    A Free Virtual Reality Experience to Prepare Pediatric Patients for Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Cross-Sectional Questionnaire Study


    Background: A magnetic resonance image (MRI) is a diagnostic test that requires patients to lie still for prolonged periods within a claustrophobic and noisy environment. This can be difficult for children to tolerate, and often general anesthetic (GA) is required at considerable cost and detriment to patient safety. Virtual reality (VR) is a newly emerging technology that can be implemented at low cost within a health care setting. It has been shown to reduce fear associated with a number of high-anxiety situations and medical procedures. Objective: The goal of the research was to develop a VR resource to prepare pediatric patients for MRI, helping to reduce anxieties in children undergoing the procedure. Methods: A freely accessible VR preparation resource was developed to prepare pediatric patients for their upcoming MRI. The resource consists of an app and supporting preparation book and used a series of panoramic 360 degree videos of the entire MRI journey, including footage from within the bore of the scanner. The app, deployed via the Android Play Store and iOS App Store, can be viewed on most mobile phones, allowing a child to experience an MRI in VR using an inexpensive Google Cardboard headset. The app contains 360 degree videos within an animated, interactive VR interface designed for 4 to 12-year-olds. The resource was evaluated as part of a clinical audit on 23 patients (aged 4 to 12 years), and feedback was obtained from 10 staff members. In 5 patients, the resource was evaluated as a tool to prepare patients for an awake MRI who otherwise were booked to have an MRI under GA. Results: The VR preparation resource has been successfully implemented at 3 UK institutions. Of the 23 patients surveyed, on a scale of 1 to 10, the VR resource was rated with a median score of 8.5 for enjoyment, 8 for helpfulness, and 10 for ease of use. All patients agreed that it made them feel more positive about their MRI, and all suggested they would recommend the resource to other children. When considering their experiences using the resource with pediatric patients, on a scale of 1 to 10, the staff members rated the VR resource a median score of 8.5 for enjoyment, 9 for helpfulness, and 9 for ease of use. All staff believed it could help prepare children for an awake MRI, thus avoiding GA. A successful awake MRI was achieved in 4 of the 5 children for whom routine care would have resulted in an MRI under GA. Conclusions: Our VR resource has the potential to relieve anxieties and better prepare patients for an awake MRI. The resource has potential to avoid GA through educating the child about the MRI process.

  • Source: Jisc; Copyright: Jisc and Matt Lincoln; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    A 12-Week Electronic Mentoring Employment Preparation Intervention for Youth With Physical Disabilities: Pilot Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial


    Background: Youth with disabilities are at high risk of unemployment compared with youth without disabilities. They often encounter challenges in accessing vocational programs that meet their needs. One promising approach that could help to address barriers that youth encounter while also enhancing social support is through electronic mentoring (e-mentoring). Although there is an increase in e-mentoring for youth with disabilities, little is known about its impact for youth with physical disabilities. Objective: This study aimed to assess the acceptability and initial impact of a Web-based peer electronic mentor employment intervention for youth with physical disabilities. Methods: The Empowering Youth Towards Employment intervention was evaluated using a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT). Youth, aged 15-21 years, with physical disabilities were randomly assigned to an intervention (ie, mentored) or control (ie, not mentored) group. Trained mentors (ie, near peers) with a physical disability led the online discussion forums and provided peer support and resources for 12 modules (1 topic per week over 12 weeks). Primary outcomes focused on self-determination, career maturity, and social support. We also explored program adherence and dosage, participant satisfaction, and areas for improvement. Results: A total of 13 youth (mean age 17.3 years, SD 1.88; 54%, 7/13 female) completed the RCT. In the intervention group (n=9), 56% (5/9) of the youth were females, and in the control group (n=4), 50% (2/4) of the youth were female. Participants reported satisfaction with the program and that it was feasible and acceptable. Participants’ mean engagement level with the program was 5.22 (SD 2.48) for the intervention group and 5.40 (SD 4.56) for controls. Participants in the intervention group demonstrated significant improvements in self-determination (t12=2.49; P<.04) compared with the control group. No adverse events were reported. Conclusions: The Empowering Youth Towards Employment is a promising intervention that enhances self-determination among youth with physical disabilities. Trial Registration: NCT02522507; (Archived by WebCite at

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Feasibility and Acceptability of a Culturally Tailored Website to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Physical Activity Levels in African American...


    Background: African American youth (aged 8-14 years) do not adhere to national dietary and physical activity guidelines. Nonadherence to these recommendations contributes to disproportionate rates of obesity compared with their white counterparts. Culturally tailored electronic health (eHealth) solutions are needed to communicate nutrition and physical activity messages that resonate with this target population. Objective: This study aimed to identify the impact of exposure to a website hosting culturally tailored cartoons to inspire fruit and vegetable uptake and physical activity levels in African American mother-child dyads. Methods: Statistical analysis included paired sample t tests to evaluate knowledge gains, self-efficacy, and readiness to change. Adapted items from Prochaska’s Stages of Change toward the following 4 behaviors were assessed with pre- and posttest surveys: (1) fruit and vegetable selection on my plate, (2) meal preparation, (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside of home, and (4) physical activity. Open-ended comments on videos from mother-child dyads were used to determine user acceptance. Observations of repeated responses during content analysis informed coding and development of key themes. Results: A final sample size of 93 mother-child dyads completed the study. Mothers reported significant improvement from precontemplation or contemplation stages to preparation or action stages for (1) fruit and vegetable selection on her plate (P=.03), (2) meal preparation for her family (P=.01), (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside the home (P<.001), and (4) physical activity (P<.001). Significant improvements were found in knowledge, stage of change, and self-efficacy for the 4 target behaviors of interest (P<.001). Children’s open-ended commentary reported vicarious learning and positive character identification with brown-skinned cartoons exhibiting healthful food and exercise behaviors. Mothers commented on the lack of accessible produce in their neighborhoods not depicted in the cartoon videos. Conclusions: Culturally adapted cartoons that incorporate tailored preferences by African American families, such as race or demography, may help increase adherence to target health behaviors when developing eHealth behavior solutions.

  • Source: Jisc; Copyright: Jisc and Matt Lincoln; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND).

    What Women With Disabilities Write in Personal Blogs About Pregnancy and Early Motherhood: Qualitative Analysis of Blogs


    Background: More than 1 in 10 women of reproductive age identify as having some type of disability. Most of these women are able to become pregnant and have similar desires for motherhood as women without disability. Women with disability, however, face greater stigma and stereotyping, additional risk factors, and may be less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care compared with their peers without disability. More and more individuals, including those with disability, are utilizing the internet to seek information and peer support. Blogs are one source of peer-to-peer social media engagement that may provide a forum for women with disability to both share and obtain peer-to-peer information and support. Nevertheless, it is not clear what content about reproductive health and pregnancy and/or motherhood is featured in personal blogs authored by women with spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), spina bifida, and autism. Objective: The objective of this study was twofold: (1) to examine the information being shared in blogs by women with 4 types of disabilities, namely, SCI, TBI, spina bifida, and autism, about reproductive health, disability, health care, pregnancy, and motherhood; and (2) to classify the content of reproductive health experiences addressed by bloggers to better understand what they viewed as important. Methods: Personal blogs were identified by searching Google with keywords related to disabilities, SCI, TBI, spina bifida, and autism, and a variety of keywords related to reproductive health. The first 10 pages of each database search in Google, based on the relevance of the search terms, were reviewed and all blogs in these pages were included. Blog inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) written by a woman or care partner (ie, parent or spouse) of a woman with a self-identified diagnosis of SCI, TBI, spina bifida, or autism; (2) focused on the personal experience of health and health care during the prepregnancy, prenatal, antepartum, intrapartum, and/or postpartum periods; (3) written in English; and (4) published between 2013 and 2017. A descriptive and thematic qualitative analysis of blogs and corresponding comments was facilitated with NVivo software and matrix analysis. Results: Our search strategy identified 125 blogs that met all the inclusion criteria; no blogs written by women with spina bifida were identified. We identified 4 reproductive health themes featured in the blog of women with disabilities: (1) (in)accessible motherhood, (2) (un)supportive others, (3) different, but not different, and (4) society questioning motherhood. Conclusions: This analysis of personal blogs about pregnancy and health care written by women with SCI, TBI, and autism provides a glimpse into their experiences. The challenges faced by these women and the adaptations they made to successfully navigate pregnancy and early motherhood provide insights that can be used to shape future research.

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL:; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Qualitative and Quantitative Evaluation of the Make Safe Happen App: Mobile Technology–Based Safety Behavior Change Intervention for Parents


    Background: Nearly half of the unintentional injuries in children happen in and around the home; many of these injuries are preventable. Providing parents and caregivers with proper injury prevention information that is easily accessible may help them make their homes safer for children. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate parental injury prevention awareness and home safety behaviors, motivations for and challenges to taking injury prevention and safety actions for parents as well as user experience following the use of the Make Safe Happen mobile app. Methods: A total of 40 parents with children aged 0-12 years living in Columbus, Ohio, participated in 1 of 5 focus group discussions following the completion of (1) a pretest survey, (2) use of the Make Safe Happen app, and (3) a posttest survey. Results: Following the use of the Make Safe Happen app, parents reported a significant increase in injury prevention awareness and completed 45% more home safety behaviors in and around their homes. Nearly all of the parents felt the app provided them with the information needed to make their home safer for their children; the great majority of parents intended to make such changes in the future. Conclusions: The combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection allowed for rich data capture and provided a deeper understanding of parents’ safety knowledge, behaviors, app use, and decision making regarding child injury prevention in and around the home. The Make Safe Happen app provides the information and motivation parents and caregivers need to help them take steps to prevent child injuries that may occur in and around their homes.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: skeeze; URL:; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Use of Physical Activity Monitoring Devices by Families in Rural Communities: Qualitative Approach


    Background: Several studies support the impact of information communication technology–based interventions to promote physical activity among youth. However, little is known on how technology can be used by the entire family to encourage healthy behavior. Previous studies showed that children and youth rely and are dependent upon the decisions and values of their caregivers when it comes to having a healthy lifestyle. Thus, the exploration of behavior and attitudes of the entire family is needed. Objective: The study aimed to explore (1) perceptions of how the use of physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) by families in rural communities influence their patterns of participation in physical activity, (2) how attitudes toward physical activity change as a result of using physical activity tracking devices as a family, and (3) what factors influence participation in physical activity among families in rural communities. Methods: A total of 11 families with 1 to 3 children of different ages (7-13 years) took part in semistructured group interviews following 2 weeks of using physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) as a family. The participants were asked to discuss their experience using the Fitbit Zip as a family, the motivation to be physically active, the changes in their pattern of participation in those activities, the level of engagement by different family members, and the factors that affected their participation. All interviews were voice-recorded with the participants’ permission and later transcribed verbatim using pseudonyms. To analyze the data, the principal investigator (IS) used open, axial, and selective coding techniques. Results: A total of 3 themes and several subthemes appeared from the data. The families in rural communities reported no or minimal changes in physical activities as a result of using physical activity tracking devices (Fitbit Zip) because of a lack of interest or an already active lifestyle. However, the attitude toward physical activity was altered. The family members reported an increased awareness of their activity level, introduced more conversations about active and healthy lifestyles, and changed their view of physical activity to a more positive one. The participants described the changes they were able to make and the constraining factors that stopped them from making further changes in their lifestyle. Conclusions: Technology might serve as a facilitator to participation in physical activity among families. Technology can motivate the change in attitude toward active recreation. As long-term changes in lifestyle require internal motivation, the change in the attitude might have a more long-lasting impact than the change in the immediate behavior. More longitudinal studies are needed to further explore long-term change in both behavior and attitude toward physical activity. Additional exploration of constraints to participation in physical activity among families is also an important area of exploration.

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  • Pro-Breastfeeding Social Media Groups: Hidden Communities of Practice?

    Date Submitted: Apr 11, 2019

    Open Peer Review Period: Apr 23, 2019 - Jun 18, 2019

    Background: In recent years, research around the intersection of motherhood, breastfeeding, and technology has grown significantly. These technological advancements elicit a need to better understand...

    Background: In recent years, research around the intersection of motherhood, breastfeeding, and technology has grown significantly. These technological advancements elicit a need to better understand how communication and interaction between mothers within social media groups impacts breastfeeding-related outcomes. Objective: This study aimed to explore utilization of an existing pro-breastfeeding Facebook group, and how utilization influences breastfeeding-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Methods: A mixed methods study was conducted exploring the experiences of participants within a Facebook pro-breastfeeding group. Participants recruited from within this social media group engaged in Online Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) (n=21) and additional individual interviews (n=12). Thematic analysis of qualitative data led to the conceptualization and contextualization of a breastfeeding community of practice (COP). A quantitative survey was then developed to assess the prevalence of these experiences amongst mothers within the group (n=314). Results: Qualitative findings showed an overall sense of community, elaborating on trust, interaction, and the promotion of breastfeeding. Quantitative results showed an extremely high exclusively breastfeeding rate at 6 months (69%), as well as a high percentage of mothers who initiated breastfeeding at some point (91.5%). Further findings show a large majority of mothers reported the group to exhibit specific aspects present within a COP. Conclusions: Results from this study suggest that this pro-breastfeeding Facebook formed an organic online COP. Interaction within the COP positively impacted breastfeeding outcomes. Further examination and exploration of breastfeeding COPs, including using this type of model as a method of lactation support or as a telemedicine framework, is a clear need. Results suggest pro-breastfeeding support groups that form a COP have the potential to positively influence breastfeeding-related outcomes. Ultimately, improved breastfeeding outcomes can lead to better quality of life for mother-infant dyads, including both physical and mental health outcomes.