Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
The numbers of homeless adolescent mothers have been increasing over the past decade. Previous studies have focused on homeless individuals, but no studies examined late adolescent mothers' homelessness and pregnancy experiences while living in transitional housing. Using a phenomenological methodology, this study explored the lived experiences of 7 adolescent mothers, 18 to 24 years old, who were homeless, pregnant, and living in transitional housing. The social construction of reality theory provided the framework and interpretive lens for this study. Social networking and snowball sampling were used for participant recruitment. Through in-depth interviews, data coding and analyses were conducted to identify 6 major themes: (a) unknown risk and coping, (b) improved outcomes, (c) hopes, dreams, and goals, (d) rules, rules, and more rules, (e) strain, mental illness, and abuse, and (f) good and bad family relationships. Two primary public policy and social change themes were examined in depth: (a) improved outcomes and (b) hopes, dreams, and goals. These 2 key themes illustrated the importance of implementing sustainable social service public policy and the influence of transitional housing access on the lived experiences of adolescent mothers' homelessness and pregnancy. Southeastern Florida policymakers, in conjunction with public and private sector collaboration, can facilitate positive social change by creating and funding proactive and preventive initiatives to help reduce adolescent pregnancy, reduce homeless, and provide sustainable, skill-building transitional living centers.