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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


SANTOS, Sílvia Reis dos  and  SCHOR, Néia. Experiencing motherhood in early adolescence. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2003, vol.37, n.1, pp.15-23. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: Although still scarcely studied in Brazil, motherhood in early adolescence among girls aged 10 to 14 years is mostly unwanted and it is an important public health issue. Most investigations are based on biomedical paradigms and few take into consideration the adolescent's point of view. This study aimed to explore the different patterns of experiencing early motherhood from the adolescent's own point of view. METHODS: William Stephenson's Q methodology was applied. The study population was selected from 2 public mother and child health units in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and comprised 20 adolescents who became pregnant at the age of 10 to 14 years and were followed up for a period of 6 to 24 months after giving birth. Q-sorts underwent factor analysis and then the factors were interpreted. RESULTS: Four qualitatively and statistically (p<0.01) perception patterns were found. Two factors were well defined: Factor I - Satisfied with motherhood/ Dependent on the child's affection: motherhood is a positive and rich experience; and Factor II - Depressed/ Stressed out: motherhood is a negative and stressful experience. Other two potential factors need confirmation in further studies with a larger sample size. CONCLUSIONS: It was observed that motherhood's experience is distinct and heterogeneous. For some adolescents, motherhood could be a rewarding experience

Keywords : Adolescence; Pregnancy in adolescence; Maternal behavior; Mothers [psychology]; Mother-child relation; Q-sort; Q-methodology.

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