Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Despite an initiative to provide preconception care (PCC) and reproductive life planning (RLP) for all women of childbearing age, many women, especially those with low incomes, are not receiving it. As a result, there continues to be a high rate of infant morbidity and mortality in this population. Furthermore, low income adolescent females have not been adequately studied regarding this phenomenon. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore low income adolescent females' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about PCC and RLP in order to serve them more effectively. Five low income adolescent females, aged 18 to 21, were recruited through criterion sampling and they each engaged in 2 individual in-depth interviews. The health belief model, social cognitive theory, and adolescent affective and cognitive theory were the conceptual frameworks used to develop the interview guide, conduct the interviews, analyze the data, and formulate the recommendations for future studies. Moustakas's phenomenological interview process was used as a guiding framework to prepare and conduct the interviews. Qualitative data were analyzed using Moustakas's modified version of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method of analysis. Findings were that participants (a) had no experiences with PCC or RLP, (b) lacked knowledge about preparing for pregnancy, (c) had negative interactions with medical personnel, and (d) wanted more information about PCC and RLP. Further research is recommended to examine current PCC/RLP practices, conduct additional PCC studies of adolescents, and develop culturally- and age-appropriate PCC programs. Findings from these studies could improve both the lives of the adolescents and the health of their offspring.