Research Seminar at UCLan – Dr. Sally Brown on Teenage Parenting

University of Central Lancashire – School of Social Work
Research Seminar Series 2014 / 2015
Wednesday 14 January 2015
4-5.30pm, Harrington Building room 337

Teenage parenting: a moral problem, a social problem, or no problem at all?

Dr Sally Brown, Durham University

The debate has shifted during the late 20th and early 21st century from regarding teenage pregnancy as a moral problem, due to the unmarried status of the mother, to positioning it as a social problem due to the age of the mother. Teenage pregnancy and parenthood have been viewed as overwhelmingly negative, a feature of deprived communities which needs to be ‘solved’ by technical and educational means. The cumulative risks of young parenting are framed in health terms as part of a discourse about social exclusion, disadvantage and inequality.

Dr Brown’s study investigates the experiences of young parents across the generations, embedded in local contexts and cultures in the north of England.

For many young women, motherhood is an attractive choice and for some can be a positive turning point, although this is an unpopular view which has been rejected by politicians. There is, however, a mismatch whereby policy-makers regard teenage parenting as a problem but those experiencing it do not. However, the return to moral judgements about teenage parenting which we can see in the UK leads to young parents feeling stigmatised, labelled and denigrated, despite their determination to be good parents.

Sally Brown is a medical sociologist and experienced qualitative researcher. Her interests include the health and well-being of young people, men’s health, and the sociology of diagnosis and screening.

Seminar is free.  Refreshments provided.  To reserve a place please go to

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