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Teen Mothers and Their Teenaged Children: The Reciprocity of Developmental Trajectories

SmithBattle, Lee RN, DNSc; Leonard, Victoria Wynn RN, FNP, PhD

Original Article

This article reports on the fifth wave of a multigenerational study of teen mothering. Two paradigm cases reveal how teen mothers' agency and development are linked with their teenaged children's development in a world shaped by poverty and limited resources. Teens with attenuated relationships and without anchors of hope and behavioral expectations for the future face an existential void that sets them adrift. Teens with well-developed parental relationships, family routines, and behavioral expectations have a stake in the future. This emic view shows how teens respond to the challenges of adolescence shaped by mothers' agency, family practices, class, and culture.

School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Mo (Dr SmithBattle); and the UCSF California Childcare Health Program, Oakland, Calif (Dr Leonard).

Corresponding author: Lee SmithBattle, DNSc, RN, School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, 3525 Caroline St, St Louis, MO 63104 (e-mail:

We owe a great deal to the families who have shared their lives with the first author over 16 years. Funding for the follow-up study was provided by Sigma Theta Tau International, Saint Louis University School of Nursing, and Delta Lambda.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.