Supporting Teenage Parents in challenging Times: Qualitative Longitudinal Research with Young Fathers and Mothers

Wednesday 16 January 2013, 1.30PM to 4.15pm

Speaker(s): Dr Aniela Wenham, Lecturer, University of York and Dr Carmen Lau Clayton, University of Leeds Chaired by Margaret Bell, Independent Social Worker

Carmen will report on a Qualitative Longitudinal project, conducted as part of the ESRC-funded Timescapes study (2010-2012), which tracked a small sample of teen dads in varied circumstances as they negotiated the transition to fatherhood and beyond. The research was carried out in collaboration with a local authority support service, through whom the sample was recruited. Preliminary findings from the research will be presented, and located in the context of existing social research and the broad context of early years policy interventions. The presentation will also discuss the innovative methods, including the way in which practitioner engagement can help inform our understanding of teenage fatherhood.

Aniela’s findings are drawn from the study, ‘Mothers in the making: A qualitative longitudinal study exploring the journey of becoming and being a teenage mother’. This research study followed a sample group of young women from the latter stages of pregnancy to the initial transition of motherhood and then subsequent progression as a mother. The study aimed to investigate young mother’s experiences of teenage pregnancy and parenthood, in particular the experience of stigmatisation. Research questions included:

How do young mothers feel they are represented in society and how does this affect their confidence and feelings of self- worth?

• How do young mothers negotiate the stigmatisation sometimes attached to teenage pregnancy through time?

• How does motherhood alter the women’s notion of the ‘self’?

Individual interviews were conducted with 18 young mothers over a 5-year period from 2004 to 2009. A total of 40 individual interviews took place in total, involving three waves of interviews, and participant observation was also conducted through involvement in a number of local projects that aimed to support the needs of young mothers.

‌It is increasingly recognised that qualitative and longitudinal investigation can help inform government policy on teenage pregnancy and parenthood, and this seminar hopes to offer some much needed insight into the lives of young teenage parents. Both speakers will highlight how qualitative longitudinal research (QLR) is an emerging and innovative methodology particularly adept at exploring the complex and multifaceted nature of young people’s lives. Taking a QLR approach demonstrates the complexity of teenage pregnancy and parenthood, especially with regard to developments through time and how an individual narrative can unfold.

Location: University of York

Admission: See flyer for details

Email: jp42@york.ac.uk

Telephone: 01904 321237