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Trauma Informed Nursing Practice with Teen Mothers

The current ANS featured article is authored by Sarah Bekaert, MSc and Lee SmithBattle, PhD, and is titled “Teen Mothers’ Experience of Intimate Partner Violence: A Metasynthesis.”  We invite you to download this article from the ANS website and return here to add you comments to a discussion of this very important issue.  Sarah Bekaert shared this background about this article:

This paper arose from the two authors’ mutual interest in the lived experience of teen mothers.  Sarah Bekaert is currently lecturing at City University, London, UK, and practicing clinically in Sexual Health and Contraception with Oxford University Hospitals Trust.  A Children’s nurse by background, she has a special interest in teen health,

Sarah Bekaert

Sarah Bekaert

pregnancy and parenthood.  Her current PhD study explores the tension between public expectations for avoiding teen mothering and the private desire of some teens who have had a previous abortion to become a mother whilst still a teen.

Professor Lee SmithBattle of St Louis University, U.S., is a nurse who is currently on the seventh round of interviews with former teen mothers and their families.  Spanning 30 years, this qualitative longitudinal study challenges the pejorative assumptions of teen mothers by contextualizing their experiences and long-term outcomes.

With the explosion of qualitative research on teen mothering, Professor SmithBattle drew together a team to organize, summarize and review this research.  This first metasynthesis project focuses on intimate partner violence (IPV) in teen mother’s relationships.

Lee SmithBattle

Lee SmithBattle

We have organized our findings by the metaphor of a spider’s web to illustrate the trajectory of IPV in the young mother’s lives and attempts to extricate themselves from violent relationships.  The metaphor was inspired by a verse from the poem ‘Integrity’ by Adrienne Rich1, American poet, essayist and radical feminist of the 20th and early 21st century.*

Bekaert Fig1

Findings highlight pervasive violence in teen mothers’ childhoods and impoverished circumstances that make it difficult to leave an abusive relationship. We observe a constriction of the web as domestic violence emerges or worsens with pregnancy. As a consequence, young mothers become isolated, and live with the physical and psychological consequences of IPV. Research suggests that trauma informed nursing practice is needed to support teen mothers in violent intimate relationships to spin a new web.a

  • Rich, A. A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far, poems 1978-1981. WW. Norton and Company; 1981.




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