An ecological perspective of adolescents' need for support during pregnancy

Parker, Lorien (2011-03)

Thesis (M Social Work (Social Work))--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: According to South African policy documents, social welfare services, health care providers and schools should place special focus on supporting pregnant adolescents to avoid the possible deleterious effects of early unplanned pregnancies. This implies that pregnant adolescents require support, from multiple levels, in order to adjust positively to their pregnancy so as to promote their well-being and the well-being of their unborn child. This study explores and describes the support needs of pregnant adolescents in three lowincome communities. This was done by examining the support that was currently available and utilised by pregnant adolescents, as well as identifying areas that required improved support. By adopting an ecological approach to the study, the need for support could be investigated on multiple levels. A combination of a quantitative and qualitative research approach was used in the study. The study further assumed an exploratory and descriptive research design in order to provide a detailed description of the phenomenon being studied, namely adolescent pregnancy. Data was gathered by means of a semi-structured questionnaire, which was administered during an individual interview. This allowed for data to be collected that was both measurable as well as rich in description. The design of the semi-structured questionnaire was based on the information obtained from the literature review. The findings of the empirical investigation reveal that adolescents have limited knowledge of formal support services, particularly social welfare services, support groups and health care services, which results in poor utilisation of these services. Consequently, limited support is attributed to these particular services. The findings further indicate that informal sources of support, such as family, friends and partners, were relatively supportive during the adolescent’s pregnancy. However, the adolescents’ relationships with their parents and partners were particularly strained during the pregnancy, especially the relationship with their father. Of significance is the finding that fathers were considered those who offered the adolescents the least amount of support during the pregnancy. As a result of their pregnancy, the adolescents were stigmatised on multiple levels. There was stigmatisation from their friends and peers at school, which had an impact on their social adjustment. Stigma experienced at health care services led to chastising experiences, which deterred the adolescents from utilising such services. Furthermore, pregnant adolescents are stigmatised by their community, and the widespread judgement leads to increased tension and apprehension when seeking formal and informal support. The most important recommendations resulting from the study indicate that many resources of support would be better utilised during pregnancy if adolescents had greater knowledge of the support available to them. This is of particular significance with regard to social welfare services, which play a key role in educating adolescents, their parents and the community about sexuality, adolescent pregnancy and the significance of support. In addition, the recommendations emphasise the importance of promoting and facilitating peer education and support services, which could be of great value for pregnant adolescents. Receiving support and education from peers can be highly effective, but also allows pregnant adolescents to make a valuable contribution to other adolescents in similar situations. In doing so, pregnant adolescents are empowered and encouraged, which is much needed in an environment where they are typically shunned and branded as failures.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Volgens Suid-Afrikaanse beleidsdokumente moet maatskaplike welsynsdienste, gesondheidsdiensteverskaffers sowel as skole ʼn spesiale fokus plaas op die ondersteuning van swanger adolessente om sodoende die nadelige gevolge van vroeë, onbeplande swangerskappe te beveg. Dit veronderstel dat swanger adolessente hulp benodig uit vele vlakke ten einde ʼn positiewe aanpassing tot hulle swangerskap te maak om sodoende hulle eie welstand en dié van hulle ongebore kind te bevorder. Hierdie studie ondersoek en beskryf die ondersteuningsbehoeftes van swanger adolessente in drie lae-inkomste gemeenskappe. Dit is gedoen deur die huidige ondersteuning wat wel beskikbaar is en deur swanger adolessente gebruik is, te ondersoek, asook om aspekte te identifiseer wat meer ondersteuning benodig. Deur die gebruik van ʼn ekologiese benadering tot hierdie studie kon die behoefte aan ondersteuning dus op veelvoudige vlakke ondersoek word. ʼn Kombinasie van kwantitatiewe en kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodes is in hierdie studie gebruik. Die studie veronderstel verder ʼn verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp om sodoende ʼn uitvoerige beskrywing van die verskynsel wat ondersoek word, naamlik adolessente swangerskap, te verskaf. Data is ingevorder deur die gebruik van ʼn semigestruktureerde vraelys wat tydens individuele onderhoude toegedien is. Dit het toegelaat dat data ingevorder kon word wat beide meetbaar sowel as ryk in beskrywing was. Die ontwerp van die semi-gestruktureerde vraelys is gebaseer op inligting verkry uit die literatuurstudie. Die bevindinge vanuit die empiriese ondersoek dui daarop dat adolessente beperkte kennis het oor die formele ondersteuningsdienste, veral maatskaplike welsynsdienste, ondersteuningsgroepe en gesondheidsdienste, wat dan swak gebruik van bogenoemde dienste tot gevolg het. Gevolglik word beperkte ondersteuning aan hierdie dienste toegeskryf. Die bevindinge dui verder dat informele bronne van ondersteuning, soos familie, vriende en metgeselle, relatief ondersteunend was tydens die adolessent se swangerskap. Nietemin was die adolessente se verhoudings met hulle ouers en metgeselle besonder gespanne, veral dié met hulle vaders. Van aansienlike belang was die bevinding dat veral vaders beskou is as dié persone wat die minste ondersteuning tydens die swangerskap gebied het. Daarbenewens word adolessente as gevolg van hulle swangerskap op veelvoudige vlakke gestigmatiseer. Daar is stigmatisering deur vriende en portuurgroepe op skool, wat ’n impak het op die adolessent se sosiale aanpassing. Stigmatisering deur gesondheidsdienste het gelei tot tugtigingsondervindings wat die adolessente daarvan weerhou het om hierdie dienste te gebruik. Verder word adolessente ook deur hulle gemeenskappe gestigmatiseer, waar die algemene veroordeling lei tot verhoogde spanning en vrees wanneer hulle formele of informele ondersteuning benodig. Die belangrikste aanbevelings van hierdie studie, dui daarop dat vele bronne van ondersteuning beter gebruik sou geword het tydens swangerskap indien die adolessente meer kennis van die beskikbare ondersteuning gehad het. Dit is veral opmerklik ten opsigte van maatskaplike welsynsdienste, wat ʼn vername rol speel in die opvoeding van adolessente, hulle ouers en die gemeenskap aangaande seksualiteit, adolessente swangerskap en die belangrikheid van ondersteuning. Daarby benadruk die aanbevelings die belangrikheid van die bevordering en fasilitering van portuurgroepopvoeding en ondersteuningsdienste, wat van groot waarde vir adolessente kan wees. Om ondersteuning van portuurgroepe te ontvang, kan nie slegs hoogseffektief wees nie, maar ook toelaat dat swanger adolessente ʼn positiewe bydrae aan ander adolessente kan maak wat hulle in dieselfde situasie mag bevind. Sodoende word swanger adolessente bemagtig en bemoedig, wat noodsaaklik is in ʼn omgewing waar hulle tipies vermy en as mislukkings beskou word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6526
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