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1 Pathways to Wellbeing among Teenage Mothers in Great Britain Gender Equality Symposium Cambridge, September 2008 Ingrid Schoon & Elzbieta Polek Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Pathways to Wellbeing among Teenage Mothers in Great Britain Gender Equality Symposium Cambridge, September 2008 Ingrid Schoon & Elzbieta Polek Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Pathways to Wellbeing among Teenage Mothers in Great Britain Gender Equality Symposium Cambridge, September 2008 Ingrid Schoon & Elzbieta Polek Institute of Education London

2 2 Teenage Motherhood The 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;

3 3 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.

4 4 Teenage Motherhood as a Social Problem Teenage motherhood is associated with adjustment problems later in life: psychological distress of mothers and children; socio-economic disadvantage; exclusion from paid labour; welfare dependence.

5 5 Wellbeing of Teenage Mothers Factors 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.

6 6 Aims of the study First, 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.

7 Method Analysis 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. 7

8 8 Data Source and Sample British Cohort Study (BCS1970) Continuing longitudinal study of all children born in one week in April 1970; Followed from birth to age 34; At age female respondents; Sample used in the present study: 738 teenage mothers (13% of all female respondents in BCS1970).

9 9 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)

10 10 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).

11 11 Pathway Model Linking Social Background to Transition Experiences Mothers education generation 1 Family cohesion family of origin, age 16 Teenage motherhood generation 1 School motivation generqation 2, age 16 Cognitive abilities generqation 2, age 10 Relationship status generation 2 Time spend in employment generqation 2, age Academic & vocational qualifications generqation 2, age Independence from social welfare generation 2, age16-29 Relationship status generation 1

12 Estimated Pathways Linking Social Background to Transition Experiences 12 Mothers education generation 1 Family cohesion family of origin Teenage motherhood generation 1 School motivation generation 2, age 16 Cognitive abilities generqation 2, age 10 Relationship status generation 2 Time spend in employment generation 2, age Academic & vocational qualifications generation2, age Independence from social welfare generation 2, age * *.08.12**.40** -0.18*.34**.26**.15*.41**.44**.32**.18**.13**.11*.31** Relationship status generation * ** χ 2 = 26.04, df = 15, p = 0.04 CFI = RMSA = Standardized coefficients: **p <.001, *p <.05

13 13 Life Satisfaction among Teenage Mothers (generation 2) ANOVA: F (1,722) = 30.49, p <.000, η =.041

14 14 Malaise among Teenage Mothers (generation 2) 4 4,2 4,4 4,6 4,8 5 5,2 5,4 5,6 5,8 welfare dependant independence from welfare ANOVA: F (1,723) = 22.08, p <.001, η =.030

15 15 Main Findings Economic 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.

16 16 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.

17 17 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.

18 Thank you for your attention! 18


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