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Adolescent mothers: resilience, family health work and health-promoting practices


  • Claire Black MScN RN,

  • Marilyn Ford-Gilboe PhD RN

Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, School of Nursing, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3C1.


Aims.  This paper reports a study examining the relationships among mother's resilience, family health promotion (i.e. health work) and mother's health-promoting lifestyle practices in single-parent families led by adolescent mothers by testing hypotheses derived from the Developmental Model of Health and Nursing.

Background.  Research on families led by adolescent mothers has focussed primarily on negative maternal and child outcomes while ignoring the capacities of these families, including their efforts to promote the health and well-being of both mothers and children.

Methods.  This replication study was conducted with convenience sample of 41 adolescent mothers recruited using a variety of strategies. Mothers were asked to provide verbal responses to items on three study instruments: The Resilience Scale, a measure of mother's resilience, the Health Options Scale, a measure of family health work and the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile a measure of mother's health promoting lifestyle practices, as well as a demographic questionnaire.

Results.  Consistent with the theory, moderate positive relationships were observed between mothers’ resilience and both family health work (r = 0·34, P = 0·01) and mothers’ health-promoting lifestyle practices (r = 0·42, P < 0·001). As predicted, moderate correlations were also observed between health work and mother's health promoting lifestyle practices (r = 0·62, P < 0·001). With the effects of employment status and professional support held constant, mother's resilience and health work explained 30·2% of the variance in mother's health-promoting lifestyle practices.

Conclusions.  The study validates theoretical relationships among concepts in the developmental model of health and nursing and contributes to better understanding health promotion in families led by adolescent mothers.

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