Date of Award:

1991

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Department name when degree awarded

Family and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Brent C. Miller

Abstract

Adolescent parenting research has typically focused on the mother and ignored the father . Researchers have suggested that adolescent fathers are disregarded as the child's other parent because their parenting role is devalued. An emerging body of literature indicates that adolescent fathers are excluded from the pregnancy and parenting services provided to adolescent mothers because they are viewed as unnecessary to the parenting process and unimportant to the child's development. Moreover, researchers have alleged that service providers treat adolescent fathers as outcasts based on stereotypical beliefs that they are uncaring, irresponsible victimizers who disappear at the first mention of pregnancy. However, there is no empirical evidence to support these claims.

The purpose of this thesis is to question these allegations and provide some evidence to either support or refute them. A survey of northern Utah agencies and the personnel who provide pregnancy and parenting services to adolescent mothers was conducted as the means to investigate this issue.

The results of the survey do not provide conclusive evidence although they do suggest that the participating agencies and their personnel do not have policies or attitudes that intentionally exclude adolescent fathers from receiving services. Those surveyed consider fathers to be important to the pregnancy experience and the child's development. However , they do not make a deliberate effort to encourage adolescent fathers to take advantage of their services, nor do they employ effective strategies for making adolescent males aware of their services.