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Title: Taming troubled teens: The social production of mental morbidity amongst young mothers in Pelotas, Brazil
Authors: Behague, DP
Gonçalves, HD
Gigante, D
Kirkwood, BR
Keywords: Brazil;Teen child-bearing;Mental morbidity;Stigma;Life-cycle;Ethnography
Issue Date: 2012
Citation: Social Science and Medicine, 74(3): 434 - 443, 2012
Abstract: Explanations for the association between teen-childbearing and subsequent mental morbidity vary considerably, from those based on neurological theories of development to those investigating underlying social and economic determinants. Based on longitudinal epidemiological and ethnographic sub-studies of the 1982 Pelotas birth cohort study, this paper explores the hypothesis that teen childbearing and subsequent mental morbidity have become associated through the interplay of culture, society, and biology in situations where teen pregnancy has become a stigmatised object of scientific and public health attention. Results show that the effect of teen childbearing on subsequent mental morbidity remained significant in the multivariate analysis. Ethnographic analysis, together with epidemiological effect modification analyses, suggest that this association is partially accounted for by the fact that it is more pronounced amongst a specific subgroup of women of low socio-economic status who, being more politicised about societal injustice, were also more critically engaged with – and thus troubled by – the inequitable institutionalisation of life-cycle transitions. With time, these women became highly critical of the institutionalised identification of early childbearing as a key violation of life-cycle norms and the differential class-based application of scientific knowledge on its causes and consequences. Public health campaigns should consider how the age-based institutionalisation of developmental norms has enabled the stigmatisation of those identified as transgressors.
Description: Copyright @ 2011 Elsevier Ltd. This is a post-print version of the article. The published version of the article can be viewed at the link below.
ISSN: 0277-9536
Appears in Collections:Anthropology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Research Papers

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