The social context of adolescent pregnancy : the case of Mamre

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The present study examines the social context and experiences of pregnant adolescents with the aim of forwarding suggestions for intervention. The study was conducted in Mamre, a semi-rural, predominantly Moravian village near. Cape Town. The study consisted of two parts. For the first part, names were obtained from the Mamre birth and registration list and the birth records of Wesfleur Hospital, Atlantis. The sample consisted of 25 women who at the time of conception were between 14-19 years. Names were divided into two randomly selected groups: 9 women who had babies under 18 months and 16 whose babies were between 2-4 years. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to respondents in their homes. Interviews were taperecorded, transcribed and qualitatively content analysed. For the second part of the study, 15 Mamre church records between the period 1837-1909 were drawn and examined for exclusionary practices in relation to premarital pregnancy in the Moravian church. Analysis indicates that tensions exist between attitudes to premarital sexuality and those to premarital sexual behaviour. Tensions furthermore exist between parents' acceptance of their daughters' babies and the condemnation of their daughters' teenage pregnancies. The study offers explanations for the apparent tensions. Taking these issues into consideration, ideas on intervention are suggested.

Includes bibliographical references.