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Factors influencing the effectiveness of a family intervention for adolescent versus adult mothers




Wood, Jill R., author
Fritz, Janet J., advisor
Rickard, Kathryn M., committee member
MacPhee, David, committee member

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A family intervention program entitled DARE To Be You was found to be equally effective for both adolescent and adult mothers, but the factors that predicted program effectiveness differed for the two groups. Adolescent mothers were defined as those who were 19 or younger when their youngest child was born and were 23 or younger upon entry into the program, while the adult mothers were older than 22 when their youngest child was born and had a current age of 25 or older. The sample consisted primarily of Hispanic and Anglo mothers from both urban and rural sites, and Ute and Navajo Native Americans from rural or reservation sites. For both age groups, a low sense of competence in the maternal role prior to the intervention predicted a larger increase in maternal sense of competence, but an internal locus of control was only predictive of larger improvements in sense of competence for the adolescent mothers. Large social support networks were associated with larger improvements in positive parent-child interactions and nurturance for the adult mothers and improvements in the effective use of discipline for the Anglo adolescent mothers, but large support networks were associated with less improvement in the effective use of discipline for Native American and Hispanic adolescent mothers. Adolescent Native Americans did not increase as much as the other two ethnic groups in nurturance, and there was a trend toward an analogous difference for the adult mothers in the effective use of discipline. The amount of the variance explained by variables that predicted program effectiveness iii was greater for the adolescent mothers (12% to 48%) than for the adult mothers (6% to 27%). A second line of inquiry examined the relation between maternal self-appraisals and parenting practices both before and after the intervention. The two significant differences that existed between the two age groups at follow-up were between positive attitude toward the maternal role and both communication and the use of harsh punishment. The relation between positive attitude and communication was positive for the adults and near zero for the adolescents, and the relation with harsh punishment was positive for the adolescents and negative for the adults. In conclusion, even after adolescent mothers become adults, they are still different from mothers who waited until adulthood to have children and may need special attention when they are involved in intervention programs.


1998 Fall.
Includes bibliographical references

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Teenage mothers
Operant behavior


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