AuthorHuttlinger, Kathleen Wilson.
KeywordsTeenage pregnancy -- Social aspects -- United States.
Teenage pregnancy -- United States -- Psychological aspects.
Unmarried mothers -- United States.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPregnancy in unmarried teenaged girls in America today is a growing concern to health care workers, educators, government officials and parents. Pregnancy during adolescence is not an issue because births to teenagers are increasing but because teenage pregnancy is no longer a societal option. This paper describes adolescent pregnancy from within the context of the subculture of adolescence and from the perspective of 16 pregnant, teenaged girls. The findings revealed a description of the life experiences of pregnant teenagers and introduced health-care issues that were not previously disclosed in other research studies of pregnant teens. The anthropological concepts of liminality, the double-bind, social labeling, and schizmogenesis served to guide the research. The concepts also helped to explain many behaviors and observations that were made of the informants throughout the research. An ethnographic approach using participant observation and ethnographic interviews was used to collect data from 16 pregnant, unmarried, teenaged girls in a large Southwestern, urban area. The informants ranged in age from 14 through 19 years and represented various backgrounds. Nine informants resided in a home for unwed, pregnant teenagers with the remainder residing in diverse locations. Data analyses occurred concurrently with data collection as part of an ongoing process. Data were ordered and transcribed within a framework designed to enhance thematic analysis. Transcribed interview and observational data were transferred onto the Ethnograph, a data-management software program. Data were coded using substantive and conceptual codes. Codes were linked according to patterns of association and frequency of occurrence which in turn led to the revealing of recurrent thematic patterns. In all, eight themes were revealed: (1) pregnancy is bad; (2) loneliness; (3) waiting it out; (4) dependency; (5) looking bad; (6) giving up baby; (7) losing what was; and (8) losing control. Thematic content also disclosed many inconsistencies and double-binds between the larger Western macroculture and adolescent subculture. Ethnographic themes and expressions of these themes provided new information for constructing health-related interventions with pregnant teens.