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Title: Affluence, deprivation and young parenthood : an exploration of pregnancy decisions in four Local Authorities in London
Author: Smith, Debbie Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0001 3431 8912
Awarding Body: Kingston University
Current Institution: Kingston University
Date of Award: 2007
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The UK has one of the highest young pregnancy rates in the developed world (Unicef, 2001). An association between socio-economic environment and young pregnancy is evident, with deprived areas having higher under-18 conception rates and lower proportions of abortions than affluent areas (e.g. Uren, Sheers & Dattani; 2007). Presently, the processes underlying this association are unclear (e.g. Lee, Clements, Ingham, & Stone, 2004). The forthcoming studies therefore have set out to explore the mechanisms and processes through which the socio-economic environment influences young people's sexual and reproductive decisions and behaviours. A theoretical framework drawn from critical psychology, social psychology and epidemiology was used to provide a detailed exploration of this association. The role of cultural and social factors as possible processes by which socio-economic environment influences young people's sexual, reproductive and pregnancy decisions were explored using social representations theory framework (e.g. Moscovici, 2000; 1976) and cultural and behavioural explanations of social inequalities (such as suggested by Townsend & Davidson, 1983). Young mothers (N=16) and fathers (N=5) from a mix of socioeconomic environments were interviewed about their experiences. These data were used to design future studies. The first of these, addressed social acceptance of young pregnancy in areas characterised by different levels of deprivation (N=570), while the second used questionnaires (N=49) and focus groups (N= 10) to explore the antenatal ,. and postnatal needs of young parents as well as the reasons for their low attendance. These studies suggest that the image of pregnancy and parenthood offered to young people through the process of intra-cultural communication differ from their actual experiences - this discrepancy between the imaged and real picture for young parents' impacts upon their emotional well-being and future plans. Social inequalities influence young pregnancy outcomes through social representations. Within each economic subgroup (more deprived and more affluent areas and families) different social representations produce varying values and beliefs concerning sexual and reproductive behaviour, gender roles, role models and social acceptance of young pregnancy and abortion. Several issues warrant further exploration - these include socio-economic variations in contraceptive use and reasons for non-use, the influence of gender roles, the need for ward-level comparisons and the influence of culture and subcultures on sexual, reproductive and pregnancy decisions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Nursing and midwifery