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Facebook detects signs of postpartum depression

Study finds differences in social network activity can identify moms who need support

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7:48pm, February 15, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. — New moms suffering from postpartum depression change their activity on Facebook, suggesting that the social media site could help detect mothers who need support.

Many new parents share pictures and videos of their babies on Facebook and use the site to interact with friends they might be too busy to see in person. But compared with most typical new moms, those suffering from postpartum depression are less active on the social media site, Munmun De Choudhury of Georgia Tech reported February 14 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She and her colleagues at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Wash., conducted an elaborate study that included a depression screening questionnaire, interviews and an analysis of Facebook activity and interactions of 165 mothers both before and after they had their babies.

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