Purpose: To synthesize qualitative studies on the phenomenon of adolescent motherhood.
Methods: Databases were searched for qualitative studies regarding the experience of adolescent motherhood (years 1990–2001). Noblit and Hare’s (1988) meta-ethnographic comparative method was used for synthesizing the research. A total of 251 citations were found, with a subgroup of 50 studies on “adolescent motherhood” and “qualitative studies.” Twenty-five studies conducted in the United States, Canada, China, England, and Australia met the sample inclusion criteria. The combined sample of participants across studies was 257 adolescent mothers.
Results: Certain characteristics are common to the studies of adolescent motherhood. Five overarching metaphors were found: (1) the reality of motherhood brings hardship; (2) living in the two worlds of adolescence and motherhood; (3) motherhood as positively transforming; (4) baby as stabilizing influence; and (5) supportive context as turning point for the future.
Clinical Implications: Nurses working in hospital, home care, community, and school settings can use the results of this metasynthesis to obtain a clearer picture of how adolescents feel during pregnancy, and the types of nursing interventions that can be developed to help them.