Date of Award

8-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Nursing

Major Professor

Johnie Mozingo

Committee Members

Mitzi Davis, Priscilla Blanton, Joanne M. Hall, Pamela S. Hinds

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the interaction that occurs between adolescent mothers and their newborns while situated together in the immediate postpartum period. The researcher sought to determine: 1) What are the interactive process (es) that occur between adolescent mothers and their newborns while situated together in the immediate postpartum period, 2) What categories emerge from the adolescents’ descriptions of the mother infant situation?, and 3) How do the emergent categories relate?

Ten primiparous adolescent mothers age 17 years or less were purposively sampled to participate in this qualitative Grounded Theory study. Face to face interviews about what participants had been doing to get to know their babies were conducted either the in-patient setting or the home of each participant at their request within one week of delivery

The adolescent mothers described a distinct process that begins at the moment of birth and encompassed them forming a relationship with their newborn, recognizing self-change based on that relationship, and moving forward with their baby as the central component of their life. Three core concepts, “Connecting Together,” “Taking Baby into the Inner Being,” and “Embarking Together” emerged from the rich descriptions provided by the participants to represent the theory “Becoming Tied.” The theory provides a new way of viewing the process of how adolescent mothers and their newborns relate in the immediate postpartum period.

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