Date of Conferral







Sandra Harris


Teenage pregnancy in the United States is a national concern because of negative outcomes for teen mothers and their children of teen mothers. There is ample research on the negative outcomes associated with teen pregnancy: however, there is little research on the success of teenage mothers. This transcendental, phenomenological study examined how former teenage mothers overcame challenges of teen pregnancy to become financially independent adults. The research question for this study was: What factors enabled former teen mothers to overcome challenges of teen pregnancy to become financially independent adults? Principles from social learning theory and resilience theory provided the conceptual framework. Fifteen women who were teenage mothers participated in the study. Data were collected using semistructured interviews and a demographic questionnaire. Coliazzi's 7- step process was used analyze the data. Key findings showed the following: family support and government assistance enabled the women to continue their education and achieve financial independence; most fathers were supportive during the child's first year, but the support subsided as the relationship between the parents dissolved; the women received little support from their communities or from the educational system. Findings from this study make in important contribution to the literature by taking a strengths-based approach to document the success of teenage mothers. One recommendation is that human services professionals should advocate for stronger support systems for teen mothers because results from this study revealed that good support systems for teenage mothers will enable them to become stronger pillars of society, thus making a positive social change.