American Indian Navajo adolescent parenting: Multiple perspectives within context.
AuthorDalla, Rochelle Lene'.
Committee ChairGamble, Wendy C.
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractIn this descriptive investigation, Navajo Native American teenage parenting was examined. Two goals were addressed. To begin, despite high rates of teenage parenting on the Navajo Reservation, in comparison with the country in general, no literature exists examining this topic. In response, the first goal was to examine Navajo teenage parenting from a broad, inclusive perspective. Bronfenbrenner's (1989) Ecological System's Theory comprised the theoretical foundation for accomplishing this task. Second, this investigation was conceptualized in reaction to the extant teenage parenting literature which paints an oversimplified picture of youthful parenting, and which largely characterizes adolescent mothers as "deviant." In this investigation, teenage parenting was examined through the lives of those women experiencing it, divorced from the typically applied "medical model" framework. Principles of Postmodern Feminism provided an alternative perspective from which to view teenage parenting. To capture the essence of the ecology of teenage parenting on the Navajo Reservation, three groups of participants were included: Navajo adolescent mothers provided an individual/personalized perspective, their own mothers provided an historical/cross-generational perspective, and community members provided a global/community wide perspective. Each participant was interviewed at length; data were recorded, transcribed and then analyzed using Phenomenological Descriptive Analysis (Colaizzi, 1978). Data analysis resulted in the teenage mothers being classified according to their expressed degree of identification with two roles, namely, those of mother and adolescent. Results suggested that role identification may be a powerful construct, or developmentally structuring attribute (Bronfenbrenner, 1989), from which to examine individual orientations and reactions toward teenage parenthood. Grandmothers were classified according to the amount of support each provided her teenage daughter and grandchild(ren) and was significantly affected by the youths' role identification. Community members concurred that teenage parenting was not condoned, but that teenage mothers were supported by their families or extended kin. Results from this investigation (a) affirm the heterogeneity both within and among teenage parenting populations, and their families, and (b) may be utilized to enhance existing models of adolescent parenting which overlook key individual differences.
Degree ProgramFamily and Consumer Resources