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Teenage Motherhood Across the Lifecourse: Intersections of Age and Gender

Project Description

Project Reference Number: GSBS-2019-116

Teenage motherhood is often portrayed as a dichotomy - where young women are identified either as vulnerable or as problematic (Social Exclusion Unit 1999). Teenage mothers are judged to be a homogenous group - where intersections of age and social class interact to generate a demonising public discourse. However, research has shown that teenage motherhood involves change, opportunity and resilience (Duncan 2007), alongside positive identifications and social support networks (McDermott and Graham 2007).
‘Motherhood’ is often only researched during its early phases (e.g. in pregnancy or when children are in early childhood). This overlooks its dynamic nature. Using a participatory approach enables motherhood to be conceptualised as a process - highlighting how those who are or have been ’teenage mothers’, contextualise the trajectories of their past, present and future selves.
The purpose of the research is to explore ‘teenage motherhood’ as experienced and lived by women who are currently or were formerly ’teenage mums’.
1.To explore participants’ family histories and social backgrounds
2.To observe the circumstances of their pregnancy and family, community and social reactions to this
3. To illustrate the impact of teenage pregnancy upon the mother’s lifecourse (presently and upon reflection)
Outcomes: 1.
To identify and understand both the support mechanisms and pressures upon teenagers who became mothers to inform current practice and supportive networks for current teenage mothers
2. Use visual representations and social media as a platform for support.
3.To highlight interventions for support throughout motherhood.

Supervisor Research Profiles

Director of Studies: Dr. Nancy Lombard
GCU Research Online URL:

2nd Supervisor: Prof. Stephen Sinclair
GCU Research Online URL:
How to apply

The project is available as a 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time PhD study programme with an expected start date of the 1st October 2020.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisor for the project before applying.

To apply for this project, use the following link to access the online application form, as well as further information on how to apply:

Please send any other enquiries regarding your application to

Funding Notes

Funding notes

Applicants are expected to find external funding sources to cover the tuition fees and living expenses. Alumni and International students new to GCU who are self-funding are eligible for fee discounts. See more of fees and funding. View Website

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