Ion [Abstract]

Capitalizing on new theoretical perspectives on adolescent mothers for improving social policies and assistance
[Full text]

Irina Elena Ion [1]

Abstract: This article analyzes the scientific and public discourses regarding adolescent motherhood vehiculated since the ’50s until present times. If the dominant discourses are based on several common typifications of the adolescent motherhood “problem”, mainly as a socio-economic and moral issue, a new strand of novel, revisionist studies, several of constructionist inspiration, redefine our understanding of adolescent motherhood. These new studies bring enlightening and rich contributions regarding the difficulties of adolescent mothers, especially from vulnerable populations, and their social conditions. The new theoretical directions that emerged include mothers’ voices in research, rejecting a deficit and individualistic approach of the “problem” and pleading for paying much more attention in the scientific analysis to mothers’ social context, while also recognizing their fragile but existing agency. Overall, the new research directions identified in the revisionist studies facilitate a better understanding of the lives and needs of these mothers and their families, which can inform social policies and assistance, including socio-educational and awareness programs that aim to discourage early pregnancy, while also opening new avenues of research. Contextual constructionism and its approach to social problems offer us the theoretical premises needed to put social science at work for real life in the spirit of public sociology, meanwhile capitalizing on the constructionist approach, in the benefit of vulnerable populations.

Keywords: Adolescent motherhood; Vulnerable groups; Contextual constructionism; Social problems; Social policies;

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania,,