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sychologists research ‘wine mom’ culture

The social media concept of “wine moms” has been assessed by two psychologists to discover the impact of the trend on mothers and their drinking habits.

by Tunae

According to the study, which has been published in the Psychology of Popular Media journal, wine moms are those who are encouraged to drink alcohol “to cope with stressors associated with motherhood” and the idea has “become mainstream in popular media discourse”.

It focuses on posts on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook which have used the hashtag #winemom or groups such as “Mommy Drinks Wine and Swears”.

The two authors, Emily Lorenz and Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, decided to research the impact of this social media trend, and used 330 mothers to view nine social media posts, which were either representative of wine mom or ‘sober mom’ messaging and hashtags, as well as neutral social media posts.

Participants in the study then reported drinking norms, social comparison orientation, drinking behaviour, as well as previous exposure to “wine mom messaging”.

Speaking to PsyPost, Lorenz who works at the University of Missouri, said she decided to investigate the impact as she often saw posts on social media about the “need to drink alcohol to survive the challenges of motherhood”.

According to the study, mothers who were regularly exposed to wine mom content before the study and then viewed content during the experiment, reported stronger beliefs their social circle approves of drinking as a part of being a mother.

As a result, Lorenz said that mothers exposure to the concept of ‘wine moms’ can “influence mothers’ perceived expectations to consume alcohol”.

She told PysPost: “While bonding through alcohol can bring community to mothers, and allow them to resist traditional expectations of motherhood, this can have negative influences when it promotes risky drinking behaviour, such as heavy drinking.”

In addition, the mothers who engage in social comparisons consider drinking as more common among other mothers, regardless of which study group they were in, with Lorenz adding that it was a “surprising finding” which may “indicate the powerful influence of wine mom discourse”.

But contrary to the study’s expectations, how much mothers see themselves as drinkers was not a particular issue, perhaps due to the other more critical parts of their identity that are related to motherhood.

This suggests that even if a mother is a drinker, the behaviour is not a defining part of her identity, and less influential in shaping beliefs about alcohol consumption.

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