Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sandra P. Thomas

Committee Members

Sadie P. Hutson, Lisa C. Lindley, Terri Combs-Orme


Very little is known about the experience and long-term effects of pregnancy loss during adolescence. The purpose of this existential phenomenological research study was to gain a better understanding of the meanings adolescent mothers give to their experience of pregnancy loss. For this study, four participants were interviewed using unstructured, phenomenological interviews. The participants were 17 (3) and 18(1) at the time of the loss and ranged in age from 29 to 58 years at the time of the interviews. Data analysis resulted in the development of five themes to describe the experience of pregnancy loss during adolescence: 1) “It was an emotional roller coaster,” 2) My baby and I were less important to them [health care providers], 3) “It was all my fault,” 4) “I will always wonder,” and 5) “Everything happens for a reason.” Rigor was ensured by following Thomas and Pollio’s (2002) phenomenological research methods. The findings of this study offer understanding of the meaning of the experience of pregnancy loss during adolescence, which have implications for the nursing discipline.

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