Conference Contribution Details
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Dempsey, M.
Psychological Society of Ireland Annual Conference
Itís not cancer, itís a babyí; Lived experiences of teenage pregnancy
Oral Presentation
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Title: ĎItís not cancer, itís a babyí; Lived experiences of teenage pregnancy

Author/presenter: Maria Dempsey

Affiliations:School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork, Ireland

Objective: ††††† This study explores the lived experiences of teenage pregnancy in Ireland. It was situated in, and contributes to, a developing shift in academic and public discourse on early aged pregnancy. Teenage voices, often marginalised from this area of study, are the focus of this work.

Methods: †††††† The study comprised 81 individual and group interviews: 70 in 2000 and 11 in 2010. 61 of the individual interviews were with those who have experienced teenage pregnancy. Data was analysed using Grounded Theory Methodology.

Results:†††††††† Teenage pregnancy is described as a transformative challenging life event which can trigger personal growth and result in a developed sense of agency. The theme of teenage pregnancy as a journey with different routes, pacing, challenges and ways of being negotiated, are developed in this study.

Discussion:†† Issues identified for discussion include: teenage pregnancy as a catalyst in meaning making, teenage pregnancy and relational dynamics, teenage pregnancy and cultural developments in Ireland, and psychological processes intrinsic to lived experiences of teenage pregnancy. Implications for practice in terms of supporting adjustment and adaptation to this life event are noted.