Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Beth Barnes

Second Advisor

Dr. Brandi Frisby


Exploring online support groups has gained more and more popularity in the last decade. Investigating the type of support messages users send each other has broadened the already extensive social support framework built in the last forty years. Mothers utilize online support for various topics, and a very common topic is breastfeeding. The perception of breastfeeding has changed throughout history with shifting beliefs and societal norms coupled with solid facts about its importance in the sustaining of infants. Online breastfeeding support has been previously explored through the categorization of types of support and themes within the interactions. This study extended this by investigating deeper into the advice solicitation patterns and directness of advice patterns. Results indicated that informational support most commonly was responded to support seekers. Support seekers utilized the requesting an opinion or information solicitation type most often when posting to the discussion board. Mothers most commonly offered storytelling as responses to posts and embedded advice within the stories.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)