Teenage pregnancy and abortion: discourse, identity and power

Francois-Cull, Whitney Nikita (2022) Teenage pregnancy and abortion: discourse, identity and power. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only until 31 January 2026. Subsequently available to Anyone - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (11MB)


Drawing on a Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis approach, this study critically investigates teenage pregnancy Discourse. It takes a novel approach by examining the 1999 UK government-produced policy Discourse present within the highly influential Teenage Pregnancy Strategy (TPS), alongside an examination of discourse and identity produced in a series of in-depth, qualitative interviews with 9 women who terminated their pregnancies as teenagers between 2003 and 2015. In light of the negative view of teenage pregnancy within the UK, strategically presented within TPS, as well as the steady increase in incidences of abortion amongst teenagers since TPS’ dissemination, this thesis explores the impact of such a negative context on those who were pregnant as teenagers, which continues to affect their identity constructions well into adulthood, with a specific focus on those who chose to terminate their pregnancies.

The study argues that the strategic language choices within TPS construct a dominant Discourse of ‘teenage-pregnancy-as-problem’; a monolithic ‘pregnant teenager’ identity focusing on teenage girls as the cause and focus of this ‘problem’. This discursively creates and reproduces a hostile and negative environment. Within the ‘teenage-pregnancy asproblem’ Discourse, the study takes a nuanced, intersectional approach, to show how participants construct their own identities with this dominant negative pregnant teenager identity. The analysis explores identity construction within the context of termination and reflections on real-world experiences within clinical healthcare services and highlights the damaging and lasting role of dominant teenage pregnancy Discourse. Overall, the thesis demonstrates the urgent need for future health communication research to focus on specific teenage pregnancy and termination provisions to contribute to the improvement of teenage pregnancy and abortion experience. It advocates the need for practices that support the sharing of experience whilst concurrently recognising the need for individual patient-centred practice within abortion health care.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mullany, Louise
Jones, Lucy
Keywords: discourses, health communication, teenage pregnancy, abortion, identity, power
Subjects: H Social sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 67444
Depositing User: Cull, Whitney
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2022 04:40
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023 09:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/67444

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View