Punishing the pregnant innocents : single pregnancy in St. John's, Newfoundland

Toumishey, Laura Hope (1978) Punishing the pregnant innocents : single pregnancy in St. John's, Newfoundland. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The primary objectives of this study are to determine, from data obtained from 40 single pregnant girls in the city of St. John's, -- (a) to what extent social and emotional factors are inhibitory to a healthy pregnancy outcome for all persons concerned. -- (b) whether the established and generally accepted social norms for sex-related behavior are relevant to the attitudes and behaviour of young people living in St. John's today. -- The primary concerns of those interviewed, were closely related to their own perceptions of anticipated responses from significant others, i.e. parents, sexual partners and social groups etc. Data analysis also served to identify significant emotional milestones along the route to, and during an illegitimate pregnancy. -- A discussion of the role and responsibility of any society, mainly through use of the family, to prepare its youth for future sex relationships, motherhood and parenthood revealed that, in reality, there were serious discrepancies, irrelevancies and serious shortcomings in attitudes and programming within the existing and generally accepted socialization process. -- A breakdown of this process served to better isolate and identify the level of "educational" input provided for each of three major age groups. These were pre-puberty, early adolescence and young adulthood. A fourth group, single pregnant women, was then discussed to determine if the process, so described, plus the existing programming and services currently provided in this community were sufficiently adequate to (a) ensure the conformity of today’s youth to the established sex-related behavioral norms and (b) provide for the re-entry, without social and emotional jeopardy of those who inadvertently, temporarily, and sometimes deliberately, deviate from these norms. -- Grounded Theory as described by Glaser and Strauss (1967)¹ was used to generate a formal theory called - Punishing the Pregnant Innocents. The extent to which specific punishments are imposed upon these "social deviants" are described in this study. The question is raised as to whether such punishments are justified or are they in response to a sense of frustration over the inability of society to prepare, control and appropriately direct the sex-related behavior of its youth. -- Recommendations for changes in social attitudes and approaches to the problems associated with illegitimate pregnancies in the city of St. John's, are included. These are suggested in the hope that they may contribute in the alleviation of the physical, social and emotional traumas too often experienced by these pregnant young women and their children. -- ¹Glaser, B.G., Strauss A. The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research, Aldine Publishing Co., Chicago, 1967.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5666
Item ID: 5666
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 116-128.
Department(s): Medicine, Faculty of
Date: 1978
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Single people--Psychology--Newfoundland and Labrador; Unmarried mothers--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Pregnant teenagers--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's
Medical Subject Heading: Illegitimacy--Newfoundland and Labrador; Pregnancy in Adolescence--Newfoundland and Labrador; Single Parent--psychology--Newfoundland and Labrador

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