Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Great expectations : teenage pregnancy and intergenerational transmission
Author: McNulty, Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 1732
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2008
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Thirteen women composed the life stories that form the basis of this thesis. The women, each with experience of pregnancy before the age of twenty, are connected as mothers and daughters across generations in six white, working class families in a setting in North East England. Their accounts are a medium for exploring intergenerational transmission of values, beliefs and practices relating to young women’s sexual relationships and pregnancies. Current UK policy defines teenage pregnancy as a social problem and a ten-year plan aims to halve the rate of undereighteen conceptions in England by 2010. Despite a substantial body of teenage pregnancy literature, relatively little attention has been given to women’s representations of how they learnt about sex and relationships, began sexual relationships with men, became pregnant and decided what to do next. The research addresses this gap in one UK area. The women’s accounts, produced in biographical narrative interviews, show how professional anecdotes about a cycle of teenage pregnancy ignore historically changing definition of some pregnancies (and by implication, some sexual relationships) as ‘out of order’. This is reflected in a vocabulary shift from ‘illegitimacy’ to ‘single parenthood’ to ‘teenage pregnancy’, with changing stigma and consequences for individual women. Interview data suggest no intergenerational transmission of a message promoting teenage pregnancy, rather the degree to which pregnancy is contingent on circumstance and linked with reproduction of gender and social class positions. Women expressed mixed feelings about becoming a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother “too young”, as well as investment in these social identities. Transmission of information about sexuality and sex has improved across the generations. However, younger women’s accounts indicate that they are still not equipped to discuss and negotiate pleasurable and safer sex within heterosexual relationships. The women were generally positive about relationships with men, and a significant minority referred to the impact of male violence. The women’s accounts illustrate intergenerational exchange of practical (eg childcare) and emotional support, as well as transmission of aspiration for a “good job”, although no transfer of financial wealth.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available