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Social Contexts of Young Moms in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin: Adolescent Motherhod, Gender and the Challenge of Social Pressure

Horowitz, Katharine Rose (2012) Social Contexts of Young Moms in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin: Adolescent Motherhod, Gender and the Challenge of Social Pressure. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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While quantitative and risk-centric literature on adolescent motherhood has long examined potential adverse health outcomes for mother and child, qualitative research has only more recently endeavored to represent the social contexts and lived experiences of young mothers themselves. This study conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) and participant observations in Erongarícuaro, México in June 2011 with women from the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin. Twenty women from 5 towns comprised 3 FGDs, each meeting twice. Participants were 18 to 27, 80% having given birth to their first child before 20. Focus group guides included questions related to adolescent and present perceptions and experiences of motherhood; family/community reactions; sexual health confidants; family planning; gender meanings; and social support. Audio-recorded data were transcribed and analyzed using open and guided coding. Final quotations were translated into English. Four major themes emerged from analysis: La familia, expected gender roles, social pressure, and contestation and coping. Participants reported the importance of la familia to their social contexts, living with either family of origin or partner’s family after the baby was born. Women living with their partner’s family described increased stress in navigation of new roles. Traditional gender roles were described as more strictly expected once they became mothers, especially by mothers-in-law and other older women. Social pressure, in the form of gender role policing, criticism from mothers-in-law, and stigma around adolescent motherhood, was said to cause great stress for young women. Participants said that through a fluid combination of coping and contestation, they found strategies to deal with the challenges they faced. The public health significance of these regionally-specific findings is their utility in elaborating social determinants of health in this context. Enriching understandings of adolescent experiences, related social contexts, and contexts of transitioning to motherhood will strengthen current efforts to improve reproductive and psychosocial outcomes for adolescents and their children. Interventions should seek to support pregnant and parenting teens. In the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, programming should seek to address social pressures and gender challenges facing young mothers, as well as an understanding of la familia and the kinds of coping and contestation that represent young mothers’ strength.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Horowitz, Katharine Rosekrh64@pitt.eduKRH64
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGuadamuz,
Committee MemberDocumet, Patriciapdocumet@pitt.eduPDOCUMET
Committee MemberCremer,
Date: 2 July 2012
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 16 April 2012
Approval Date: 2 July 2012
Submission Date: 4 April 2012
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 95
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mexico, adolescent motherhood, gender, social pressure, qualitative, social context, focus groups
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2012 14:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:57

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  • Social Contexts of Young Moms in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin: Adolescent Motherhod, Gender and the Challenge of Social Pressure. (deposited 02 Jul 2012 14:08) [Currently Displayed]


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