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Challenges and coping mechanisms of parents of teenage mothers in a pregnancy crisis centre, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa: an exploratory-descriptive study.

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Teenage pregnancy is a social problem that has been affecting South Africa and many other countries across the world. Teenage pregnancy has long been viewed as affecting both the teenager and their family. Besides the effects on the teenagers themselves, parents of teenage mothers also face multiple and related challenges that are associated with the pregnancy of their teenage daughters and the child-rearing of their grandchildren. However, there is a research gap on the subject of parents of teenage mothers, their unique challenges and coping strategies are not well documented in social work research. This study aimed to explore and describe the challenges and coping mechanisms of parents of teenage mothers. The study adopted a qualitative approach and an interpretivist paradigm, where the participants were selected using a non-probability purposive sampling technique. Due to data saturation, the study reached ten (10) research participants who had accessed the services of Zoe Pregnancy Crisis Centre. Thematic data analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data collected from semi-structured interviews which were conducted individually and face-to-face. The study results show that the causes of teenage pregnancies are diverse. Participants stated that teenage pregnancy is caused by television and social media influence; lack of parental guidance and involvement; poverty; lack of sex education; peer pressure and sexual exploitation. In relation to challenges faced by parents of teenage mothers, the study revealed that they often-experienced financial challenges; family conflicts; stigma and discrimination; and psychological distress. The parents were coping through the use of social support and problem-solving skills. The findings of the study indicated the need to extend support to parents of teenage mothers to minimise the effects of the challenges they face owing to teenage pregnancies. The study contributed to the existing body of knowledge by exploring and describing the challenges faced by and coping mechanisms utilised by parents of teenage mothers. The study has policy implications. The study showed the causes of teenage pregnancies which policymakers should aim to address in order to reduce the prevalence of teenage pregnancies.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.