Teenage mothers, stigma and their 'presentations of self'

Kyla Ellis-Sloan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to research that seeks to understand experiences of teenage motherhood. Specifically, it focuses on the stigma attached to teenage pregnancy and parenting. Negative stereotypes continue to dominate understandings of teenage pregnancy. Despite research to the contrary, teenage mothering is popularly linked to welfare dependency, promiscuity and irresponsibility. As a result, young mothers report experiences of stigma and discrimination. This paper builds on evidence of such experiences by using first-hand qualitative accounts of young parents to attempt to understand how young mothers cope with a stigmatising identity. Drawing on the work of Erving Goffman (1963,1967,1969), this paper describes how young mothers monitor the presentation of self in order to deflect judgment and blame. The evidence demonstrates that stigma is still an important and influential part of the experience of young motherhood.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2014


  • Teenage Motherhood
  • Teenage Pregnancy
  • Stigma
  • Contraception


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