Title

Assessing factors that may contribute to the life success of teenage mothers

Date of Completion

January 2006

Keywords

Education, Sociology of|Psychology, Social|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Educational Psychology

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The period of adolescence can be a difficult time for females. Adding on the pressures of becoming a teenage mother can be detrimental. However, many teen mothers overcome the odds and become successful in life. The purpose of this study was to elicit the factors that contribute to the life success of teenage mothers. A purposeful sample of five successful graduates from a federally funded high school completion program for teen mothers (Even Start), working part or full-time, and living independently, participated in a series of structured interviews. Data obtained from documentation, observation and interviewing females that became pregnant and dropped out of high school. These five, for several different reasons and at different times, then decided to turn their lives around, go back to finish their diploma and go on with their life in the pursuit of something better. Interviews were designed to analyze psychological, contextual, interpersonal support and spiritual factors among the five participants and through qualitative analysis, examine the emergent themes. Commonalties were found among all factors, with specific trends among levels of support from family, child's father and program staff. Although support from family varied at the onset of pregnancy, all families became supportive over time. Specifically, fathers were more supportive than mothers in four of the five cases. The child's father was also supportive of the baby mother in all cases with regard to their education and in all cases the teen mothers are still with their child's father. Support from program staff was also a notable trend with all cases noting at least one staff member that provided them with support and encouragement. Limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed.^