First Advisor

Eileen Brennan

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research






Teenage mothers, Teenage parents, Child abuse



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xxi, 165 pages)


This research examines the childhood abuse and maltreatment experiences of adolescent mothers (age 14 to 17; N = 80) to investigate if these experiences have hindered their socioemotional development and consequently, their parenting behaviors and attitudes. Data were gathered using four standardized self-report instruments: the Child Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ), the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC), the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory-Youth Version (EQi-YV), and the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI-2). Two additional questionnaires were developed to gather demographic and social service information to add to the knowledge base of the field, and to examine what (if any) developmentally focused services young mothers may need.

Interitem and interscale correlations, simple regressions, and hierarchical regressions were produced and examined to determine the strength and types of relationships between the variables. The explanatory capabilities of sets of predictor variables were tested as well.

Overall 76.3% of participants reported experiencing childhood abuse and/or neglect above minimal levels. Predictor variables high levels of emotional neglect and depression significantly predicted lower socioemotional development (p < .001 and p < .05); higher levels of socioemotional development significantly predicted more positive parenting attitudes regarding corporal punishment (p < .05); and socioeconomic status predicted more positive empathy and role reversal parental attitudes (p < .05).

The results of the research also supported alternative hypotheses regarding the need for appropriate and specific developmental and clinical services for teenage mothers who have suffered childhood trauma and neglect. In spite of the high maltreatment rate reported by participants, only 24% of participants had received any family therapy and only 41% had received any individual therapy. Other developmental and/or clinical service provision proportions were quite low as well (range 24-54% not received). Accordingly, demographic and services data are provided, descriptively analyzed, and discussed in detail. Study limitations and practice considerations, and a new assessment and service delivery model are offered, as are suggestions for future research.


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