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Title: Decision-making processes following premarital conception
Author: Macintyre, Sally
ISNI:       0000 0001 3615 3402
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1976
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This study explored the processes by which women who conceive while single reach certain outcomes of pregnancy---termination of pregnancy; legitimation of the birth by marriage; adoption; and unmarried motherhood. A number of women were followed up through their pregnancies, by interviews with them and the helping professions with whom they were in contact; and the agencies through which they passed were studied by observation and interview. The women exhibited diversity in their biographical circumstances, perceptions of outcomes available, and responses to pregnancy. They did not uniformly respond to pregnancy as a problem requiring resolution: some perceived it as a normal career stage not necessitating the con-sideration of alternatives to motherhood. Three responses were distinguished---crisis, partial crisis and non-crisis. The pregnancy outcomes were shaped by the legal, institutional and cultural context; by the helping professions; and by kin, friends and the putative fathers. Definitions of the situation and evaluations of outcomes were constructed in negotiations with professional and lay persons. The helping professions controlled access to knowledge and facilities. Lay persons were important in offering or withholding practical and definitional support. Various coalitions emerged in response to competing definitions of the situation. The moral characters attributed or accepted were crucial. Three such characters were identified---'nice girl who made a mistake', 'bad woman' and 'normal-as-if-married woman'. The participants' decision-making fell short of a rational comprehensive type, being limited by lack of knowledge, power and resources. Many interests were involved in any decision, and all the outcomes could be justified by the same values and objectives, viz. proper marriages and/or loving motherhood. The women did not reject traditional views concerning the value of marriage and motherhood. However, they were treated by the helping professions as though they differed from married women in feelings about motherhood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available