pathways to wellbeing among teenage mothers in great britain

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Pathways to Wellbeing among Teenage Mothers in Great Britain. Elzbieta Polek & Ingrid Schoon Institute of Education London. Gender Equality Symposium Cambridge, March 2009. Teenage Motherhood. The UK has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe; - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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    Pathways to Wellbeing among Teenage Mothers in Great Britain

    Gender Equality Symposium Cambridge, March 2009Elzbieta Polek & Ingrid SchoonInstitute of EducationLondon

  • *Teenage MotherhoodThe UK has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe; In 2003 almost 60,000 babies were born to teenage girls in England and Wales;This represents roughly 10% of all the babies born that year;The proportion of women becoming teenage mothers has not changed much among cohorts born since the 1960s.

    (Kirnan, 1997;

  • Teenage Motherhood in Europe*Source: UNICEF: Innocenti Report Card, Issue No. 3, 2001




















    Births to women aged below 20 per 1,000


    UKHungaryPortugalPolandIrelandCzech RepublicGermanyNorwayGreeceBelgiumFranceFinlandDenmarkSpainItalySwedenNetherlands


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    Antecedents of Teenage Motherhood

    Teenage motherhood is associated with problematic childhood and is often a repetition of intergenerational scenario:daughters of teenaged mothers become teenage mothers themselves;social disadvantage;low education;family disruption;low parenting skills, low psychological health of mothers and children.

  • *Teenage Motherhood as a Social ProblemTeenage motherhood is associated with adjustment problems later in life:psychological distress of mothers and children;socio-economic disadvantage; exclusion from paid labour;welfare dependence.

  • *Wellbeing of Teenage MothersFactors promoting well-being among teenage mothers:Return to education;Attachment to the labour market;Stable relationship;Yet, there is little understanding of the pathways leading to successful transition experiences.

  • *Aims of the studyFirst, we want to examine the antecedents and pathways to wellbeing among teenage mothers, in order to answer the question: what helps them to avoid repetition of the intergenerational scenario of destitution?

    Second, we want to examine a link between economic independence and psychological wellbeing of teenage mothers.

  • MethodAnalysis of the longitudinal data from 2 generations of women: the sample of 738 teenage mothers and their mothers;Using Mplus 5 we performed pathway analysis with probit regressions based on robust weighted least squares estimation;Next, we carried out ANOVA comparing the psychological wellbeing of welfare-dependent teenage mothers and those independent from social welfare.*

  • *Data Source and SampleBritish Cohort Study (BCS1970)Continuing longitudinal study of all children born in one week in April 1970;Followed from birth to age 34;At age 30 - 5738 female respondents;Sample used in the present study: 738 teenage mothers (13% of all female respondents in BCS1970).

  • *Variables Included in the Model(Predictors)Family background:Teenage motherhood (generation 1);Mothers education (generation 1);Relationship status (generation 1);Family cohesion (family of origin);Individual characteristics:General cognitive abilities (generation 2, age 10);School motivation (generation 2, age 16)

  • *Variables Included in the Model(Outcomes)Transition experiences between age 16 and 29:Highest qualifications obtained (generation 2);Time spend in employment (generation 2);Stable relationship (generation 2);Wellbeing in adulthood, age 30:Independence from welfare (generation 2);Satisfaction with life (generation 2);Psychological wellbeing (the Malaise Inventory, generation 2).

  • *Pathway Model Linking Social Background to Transition Experiences

  • Estimated Pathways Linking Social Background to Transition Experiences*2 = 26.04, df = 15, p = 0.04CFI = 0.968RMSA = 0.032 Standardized coefficients: **p < .001, *p < .05

  • *Life Satisfaction among Teenage Mothers (generation 2)ANOVA: F (1,722) = 30.49, p
  • *Malaise among Teenage Mothers (generation 2)ANOVA: F (1,723) = 22.08, p
  • *Main FindingsEconomic wellbeing among teenage mothers is influenced mainly by:Attachment to the labour market;Stable relationship.Independence from social welfare is a proxy for life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing among teenage mothers;Some unfavourable characteristics of the family of origin (teenage motherhood or parental divorce) do not have to be detrimental for child development, if parents give attention to a child and engage in joint parent-child activities.

  • *Policy Implications (1)Importance of parent-child interactions for school motivation and stable relationship in adulthood

    Need to create opportunities for family activities; Too little attention to emotional needs of young families in current polices.

  • *Policy Implications (2)Importance of school motivation:Motivated teenagers :More likely to continue with education;More attached to the labour market;Yet, bright young women disengaged from school Need to raise interest and engagement in school.

  • Thank you for your attention!