ERIC Number: ED151678
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Oct-14
Reference Count: 0
Internal and External Constraints on Teenage Mothering.
Mercer, Ramona T.
This paper reports findings of an exploratory field study of the teenager's first year of motherhood. Twelve subjects, aged 14-19, were interviewed a number of times during that year. Interviews were largely unstructured, allowing mothers to express their concerns and feelings. Data for analysis were: (1) narrative style protocols that were recorded as nearly verbatim as possible immediately following interviews; and (2) neonatal perception inventories. Internal constraints included innaccurate interpretations of the situation and the infants' behavior dependence on their mothers, confusion of feminine identity, and expressions of a high level of hostility. Infants' health status reflected their mothers' difficulties; two infants experienced failure-to-thrive syndrome, and one infant suffered a skull fracture. Factors that increased mothering competence included the ability to: progress in other roles, experience reward and gratification in watching their infants grow and mature, experience a changed, more mature relationship with their mothers, and experience a rewarding relationship with a mate. External constraints included conflicting societal values and norms which increased their anxiety, making them feel like misfits. Marriage was viewed by the single teenagers as financially penalizing, as imposing additional work, and as preventing them from getting ahead. Lack of institutional support, i.e., financial help for married couples and child-care centers for all, made it difficult to pursue educational and professional goals. (Author/MFD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations (San Diego, California, October 12-15, 1977)