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Title: Experiences and resilience of school-age mothers : their own perspectives
Author: Meldrum-Carter, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 0954
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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The psychological phenomenon of resilience encapsulates how people cope successfully in challenging situations. School-age motherhood is a clear example of a challenging situation but much of the research literature has focused on identifying the reasons why young women become pregnant during their school years rather than seeking ways to support them when it happens. Five school-age mothers between the ages of 15 and 18 from semi-rural areas in England were interviewed in detail about their own perspectives on their experiences and resilience. Their accounts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and the meanings attached to their accounts were interpreted as showing clear commonalities of experience, although these were illustrated in individual ways. Three main themes emerged: 'Coping with conflicting identities', 'Adjusting to parenthood' and 'Ways of developing and maintaining resilience'. The first theme encapsulates the difficulties experienced with managing the contrast between ascribed identities (such the negative 'teen mums' stereotype), and how participants see themselves as responsible, hard-working parents with a range of goals and ambitions. The second theme refers to how participants prioritise their children above all other concerns, adjust rapidly and effectively to parenthood and experience a sense of differentiation from their school-age peers. The third theme describes how participants develop and maintain resilience through accessing unique combinations of external supportive factors including social networks and professional input, employing personal coping strategies such as self talk and having characteristics such as the ability to build relationships. Participants identified themselves as resilient and in some cases explicitly related this to their motherhood. Implications of these findings for educational psychology and practice were discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available