Adolescent motherhood in an Australian context
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Adolescent motherhood has historically been conceptualised as a social problem requiring intervention, particularly in the US and UK where the issue has headlined policy for several decades. We draw on Australian and international literature to explore constructions of adolescent motherhood in Australia. We interrogate the common construction of adolescent motherhood as a primarily age-based problem and examine alternate discourses that could influence policy. We argue that constructing adolescent motherhood as an age-based problem perpetuates stereotypes and stigma and is potentially damaging to young mothers. We conclude that policy and funding decision makers need to reconsider how they are conceptualising the issue. Recommendations for addressing this include acknowledging the heterogeneous experiences of young mothers, reframing the issue as one of disadvantage rather than age, and shifting from a deficit to a strengths-based dialogue.
Journal of Applied Youth Studies
© 2016 Centre for Applied Youth Research Inc. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. Reproduced here in accordance with publisher policy. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.
Psychology not elsewhere classified