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Identity Transformation and Family Caregiving: Narratives of African American Teen Mothers


L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Virginia Commonwealth University, Scherer Hall, Room 311, 923 W Franklin Street, P.O. Box 842028, Richmond, VA 23284-2028 (


This article explores connections between informal caregiving and identity transformation as experienced by pregnant teens. Based on in-depth interviews with 51 African American teen mothers, the article examines teens’ pregnancy narratives as an example of narrative repair, illuminating how attending to processes that connect one’s identity to the care of others can work to empower individuals to resist threats to a positive sense of self or a damaged identity. The authors suggest that family caregiving can provide an important context that supports identity transformation not only among pregnant teens as they strive to become good mothers but among those experiencing other types of disruptions to their lives.