Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Maternal age -- Economic aspects, Mothers -- Economic aspects, Mothers -- Education


This exploratory qualitative study provides a description of how. and an understanding of why a subset of teenage mothers go on to attain higher educational and economic success, thus becoming self-supponing in their adult lives. A standardized pre-structured interview was conducted with IO Caucasian women aged 21 to 56 who had had their first children at or below age 19. Participation in the study was voluntary. A conceptual framework was advanced suggesting how social control theory was able to explain the processes involved in the anamment of later-life academic and economic success among early childbearers. The women confirmed that strong family attachments, commitment to higher educational and later occupational goals, and involvement in conventional activities prior to pregnancy contributed most to their success. These strong bonds increased the women's determination to earn a college degree. The older women tended to attend college later than the younger women following first childbirth.

The influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on adolescents' later-life success was not so clear cut. High SES enhances but does not determine a woman's chance to succeed. The woman's academic competence and motivation tended to play an independent role in her educational and economic success. Additionally, family support in the form of financial assistance, provision of child-care and emotional support was an important contributor to success. Consistent with past research, the present study found successful women to control their fertility. Results indicated that knowledge of the subjective views and suggestions from the teenage mothers about how services could be effectively delivered to them, may increase intervention program effectiveness.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Benjamin Keith Crew, Chair


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 139 leaves ; 28 cm)



File Format


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Sociology Commons