Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Developmental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lynne Sanford Koester

Commitee Members

Paul Silverman, Luke Conway, Greg Machek, Meg Traci


University of Montana


Although the current rate of teen pregnancy in the United States is at a historic low (Martin et al., 2007), there are a number of risk factors associated with early parenthood. Adolescent parenthood is often embedded in a larger context of risk such as poverty, single parenthood, low educational attainment, a history of physical and emotional abuse, and engagement in risky behavior (Hans & Wakschlag, 2000). As parents, adolescent mothers tend to be less knowledgeable about child development, less stimulating in interactions with infants, less tolerant, and more punitive with punishment (Brooks-Gunn & Furstenberg, 1986). The children of adolescent mothers are at a greater risk for health problems, cognitive deficits, behavior problems, and insecure attachment styles (Broussard, 1995; Hans & Wakschlag, 2000). This study examined the effectiveness of an intervention designed to promote positive parenting skills in a group of homeless adolescent mothers residing in a group home. The intervention lasted 8 weeks and included weekly group and individual sessions. The goals of the intervention were to increase maternal knowledge of child development, improve maternal beliefs and expectations of infants, and increase maternal responsiveness. The effectiveness of the intervention was assessed by examining differences in pre and post intervention measures within the targeted group of homeless adolescent mothers. Results are presented in a case study format. This research adds to the literature on teen parenting and has implications for relationship-based interventions targeting teen mothers. The intervention may become a component of the services offered to teen mothers by a local transitional housing program for adolescent mothers.



© Copyright 2008 Nicole Catherine McCray