Telling stories about breastfeeding through Facebook: The impact of user-generated content (UGC) on pro-breastfeeding attitudes

Seunga Jin*, Joe Phua, Kwan Min Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Through two experiments, this study examined the impact of user-generated content (UGC) and online page popularity (e.g., number of "likes") of a pro-breastfeeding community Facebook page on female college students' breastfeeding-related attitudes and behaviors. Experiment 1 focused on effects of message style (testimonial versus informational) and online page popularity (high versus low), while Experiment 2 focused on effects of message valence (success versus failure) and online page popularity (high versus low). Experiment 1 found that popular pages and informational messages resulted in significantly higher perceived source credibility and pro-breastfeeding attitudes. Message style and online page popularity interacted to influence wishful identification, future breastfeeding intention, and intention to demonstrate online social support. Experiment 2 found that success stories elicited significantly higher source credibility, wishful identification, social identification, interpersonal attraction, willingness to build online friendship, and role model perception, while failure stories elicited significantly higher empathy. Popular pages also elicited significantly higher breastfeeding intention, altruism, attitude toward breastfeeding, and breastfeeding self-efficacy. The interplay between message style, message valence, and online page popularity on pro-breastfeeding attitudes strongly demonstrate the potential of social media as a novel vehicle for health campaigns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-17
Number of pages12
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
StatePublished - May 2015


  • Breastfeeding
  • Facebook
  • Message style
  • Online social support
  • User-generated content

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • General Psychology


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