Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction


Rosenblith, Suzanne

Committee Member

Green , Robert P

Committee Member

Che , Megan

Committee Member

Martin , Michelle

Committee Member

Igo , Brent


According to ethnographer Kristin Luker (1996) 'most poignantly, in the vast majority of cases, giving birth while still a teenager is a pledge of hope, an acted-out wish that the lives of the next generation will be better than those of the current generation, that this young mother can give her child something that she never had.' Unfortunately, teen pregnancy prevention rhetoric, which often perpetuates the negative socially constructed image of teenage mothers, frequently focuses on the economic costs that teen pregnancy is reported to have. Not enough research has been devoted to the individual experiences of teen mothers, in particular teen mothers who go to college. This dissertation will use a transformative transcendental phenomenological approach to examine the experiences of teenaged mothers who go to college in the rural Southeastern United States, It will attempt to answer the question, 'What does it mean to be a teen mother who goes to college in a rural setting?' The author will identify themes that emerged from phenomenological interviews in which teen mothers who went on to two and four-year colleges share their experiences.

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