Lightening the Mother Load

Health Chat breaks down communication walls between mothers and teen daughters using Facebook

Apr. 21, 2017

Any topic can end up being a delicate one for a mother attempting to talk to her teenage daughter, but conversations about physical and emotional health can be especially tough.

Health Chat attempts to break down those communication walls using Facebook.

Tennessee moms with a daughter aged 14-17 can sign up for the private Facebook group overseen by East Tennessee State University (ETSU) researchers.

a mother smiles as she hugs her daughter

The group offers guidance for moms who want to talk to their daughters about:

  • Drug use
  • Tobacco
  • Bullying
  • Mental health
  • Physical activity
  • And other health issues.

The community of moms has a safe space to share problems and experiences.

The 18-month project includes regular surveys to be filled out by both moms and their daughters.

“The moms who have been a part of this program so far have really enjoyed it, calling it a one-stop shop for information on teen health,” said Dr. Katie Baker, assistant professor at ETSU College of Public Health.

“They found it especially beneficial in helping them start conversations with their daughters about these topics.

“And that’s the bottom line, to improve mother-daughter communications so that we may also improve health.”