"I Think Different Now": Adolescent Mothers' Meaning Making and Mindset in the Transition to Parenthod.
Abstract: Using a meaning making lens and a qualitative methodology, this
dissertation study sought to explore transformative meaning making and implicit beliefs of
parenting among a sample of 40 adolescent mothers participating in a home visiting program
during their transition to parenthood. Given the high attrition rate for interventions
serving adolescent moms, the study also explored the ... read morealignments between meaning making and
home visiting program participation. Through iterative coding and theme analysis, this
investigation revealed that participants' beliefs about parenting evolve as they transition
from pregnancy to parenting. They engage in meaning making throughout the process, which
leads to scripts of change in three areas: improvements in relationships, changes in life
outlook, and changes to self. Two groups emerged on either end of the spectrum of meaning
making. High meaning-making transformers tended to remain actively enrolled in the
intervention while the low meaning-making remainers all dropped out by the second year. An
analysis of implicit beliefs about parenting, or meta-parenting mindset, identified three
groups of participants: fixed theorists, incremental theorists, and mixed theorists. Fixed
theorists, who believed parenting ability was natural or instinctual, had a lower retention
rate in the program (14%) than the overall rate of the sample (42%) even after controlling
for participants who moved away. Incremental theorists, who attributed their parenting
abilities to gradual growth and learning, had a 50% retention rate and also represented
just 6.6% of those receiving a low number of visits and 66.6% of those who had high rates
of home visits.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Psychology.
Advisor: Ann Easterbrooks.
Committee: Jayanthi Mistry, Natalie Rusk, and Gilda Morelli.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, and Social psychology.read less