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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Adolescent mothers' relationships with their mothers: Communication, support and shared caregiving
by Mulder, Cray, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009, 174; 3363135
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation focused on parenting adolescent females who reside with their mothers. This research explored the nature of mother-grandmother relationships and how they evolved after an adolescent began parenting within a three generational household. Given the theoretical framework of role theory and the literature on the impacts of caregiving by grandparents, mother-daughter relationships, and adolescent development, this research explored the nature of mother-daughter relationships and how they changed after a teen began parenting. Research questions addressed included: how the tasks of parenting and grandparenting impacted adolescent mothers' relationships with their mothers, their parenting practices and the nature of their relationship with their mothers. The perceptions of mothers and grandmothers on the same issues were explored, as well as how grandmothers acted as caregivers for their daughters and grandchild(ren).

Participants included twenty-six pairs of cohabitating adolescent mothers and their mothers, referred to as grandmothers. Mothers and grandmothers reported increased communication, with a focus on the grandchildren and parenting after the mother's initiation of parenting. Grandmothers also wanted to prepare mothers for independence and self-sufficiency through direct teaching and dialogue. Adolescent mothers relied on the grandmothers for financial, material and parenting support. Mothers and grandmothers accessed some formal services; usually services centered on parenting were the most highly regarded. Members of the working poor expressed frustration with rigid eligibility criteria and denial of services, especially for financial and material assistance. In response to caregiving, grandmother involvement ranged from minimal physical caregiving to a level of involvement approaching that of a co-parent. Given the relatively young ages of grandmothers in the sample, grandmothers in their forties expressed role enhancement in grandmotherhood via their activity levels and involvement with their grandchildren. This research offered increased insight into the experiences of three generational households, augmented by the inclusion of both mothers and grandmothers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Anderson, Steve
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 70/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social work, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Adolescent mothers, Caregiving, Grandparent caregiving, Mothers, Role strain, Three-generation households
Publication Number: 3363135
ISBN: 978-1-109-22026-1
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