Adolescent mothers and their children are at risk for suboptimal health outcomes making adolescent motherhood a public health concern. However, the experiences of rural-living adolescent mothers are not well understood. Using Lieblich, Tuval-Mahiach, and Zilber’s (1998) narrative methodology approach, the experiential accounts of three rural-living adolescent mothers was explored. Reflecting Goffman’s (1959) presentation of self, the findings of this study revealed how adolescent mothers attempted to construct and present their notion of being a good mother, while coping with complicating rural factors. The need to present as a good mother, the lack of anonymity associated with rural living, and geographical barriers had particular implications for the way in which adolescent mothers access and use professional and personal supports. Maintaining relationships with the infants’ fathers, even when that relationship exhibited unhealthy characteristics, was important for study participants. Implications for practice, education, and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Rural, Adolescent Mothers, Goffman, Narrative Methodology

Author Bio(s)

Karen Campbell is a PhD student at McMaster University, School of Nursing. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: campbk7@mcmaster.ca.

Corinne Hart is an Associate Professor at Ryerson University, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: c4hart@ryerson.ca.


Dr. Jennifer Lapum and Dr. Joyal Miranda are acknowledged for their generous contributions to this study. Most of all, we are grateful to Anna, Bella, and Caitlin for sharing their stories with us.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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