Teenage Motherhood: An Insight into the Discourses Concerning Teenage Mothers as Expressed in Popular Media

Prof Doc Thesis

Bowen, C. 2019. Teenage Motherhood: An Insight into the Discourses Concerning Teenage Mothers as Expressed in Popular Media. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.883y3
AuthorsBowen, C.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Background: Teenage motherhood was identified as a public health issue in 1999 influencing NHS services and potentially affecting the way teenage mothers were spoken about and seen within society. There has been a suggestion that a societal stigma and negative assumptions may exist around teenage motherhood (SmithBattle, 2013). Discourses and societal assumptions can impact on societal treatment and on the mental health of those affected by the dialogues (Cree, 2010). Research also suggests that societal discourses impact on whether or not individuals seek help if needed (Spencer et al 2015). As a result it was deemed important to explore discourses concerning teenage mothers. Aims: The aim of this study was to explore the discourses concerning teenage mothers as portrayed in English newspapers from 1999 until 2018. It hopes to understand more about societal ways of talking about teenage motherhood since the introduction of NHS services for teenage mothers in 1999. Furthermore, it also hopes these themes may be useful in understanding barriers to services and the impact on teenage mothers’ mental health. Method: one hundred and fifteen newspaper articles matching the research criteria were selected and analysed using a Thematic Analysis. This analysis was underpinned by a critical realist epistemology and was informed by the Braun and Clarke (2006) six-phased model of Thematic Analysis. Results: Three themes were constructed following the analysis: 1) it’s a problem we need to fix, 2) negative stigma, treatment and fighting the stereotype and 3) it’s not all bad. Conclusions: The findings are discussed within the context of the relevant literature and suggest there is societal stigma concerning teenage motherhood. The implications of this are discussed for clinical practice and future research.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.883y3
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online24 Jul 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Jul 2020
SubmittedMay 2019
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