Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Science
Knowledge of stress and support experienced by adolescent parents may allow for the development of more appropriate or useful interventions. As some adolescent parents are single, and others are in a partnered relationship, it would seem that the examination and comparison of these two groups would yield information that could assist in making inventions more specific to the needs of each group. The current study was designed to examine the stresses being experienced by the adolescent mother and the supports which she perceives as being available to her. Thirty-two adolescent mothers participated in the research: Each had one child between two and six months old. Sixteen of the young women were single, and sixteen were in a spousal relationship. Measures were administered to test the participants’ experience of stress and support, and to measure a related construct, affect. In addition, demographic information was gathered through a structured interview format. The single mothers reported perceiving higher amounts of general stress than did the partnered group. Also, parenting stress experienced by the single mother was greater in relation to spousal support; that is, stress resulting from the lack of partner to provide emotional support and active assistance in the parenting role. The partnered group received higher stress scores which related to the child’s inability to adapt to change, and the perception of overactivity in the child. This group appeared in general, however, to experience lower levels of overall stress, and higher levels of support. When examining forms of support, a difference was noted between the group regarding tangible aid, with partnered mothers again reporting more support. An examination of the network structure indicated that there was no difference between the single and partnered mothers in either size or source, with the exception of the spousal support received by partnered group. Although mild levels of depression were noted among the young women, this is not unusual during the postpartum period. No difference in affect was observed between the groups, and none of the mothers appeared to experience more severe forms of depression.
Burke, Lillian J., "Stress and social support a comparison of single and partnered adolescent mothers" (1987). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 529.