The aim of this essay is to critique a qualitative research article ‘’Peer and Neighbourhood influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility in English community’’, Arai (2005). Included in this essay will be title, abstract, research question, literature review, method, methodology, sampling, data analysis, discussion, ethics, implications for practice and conclusion. The researcher has reported findings from a qualitative study carried out on peer and neighbourhood influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility.
Using face-to-face and semi structured interviews, 15 mothers under 21years of age and 9 coordinators took part in the study. The findings suggest that there is no evidence suggesting peer influence on the outcome of teenage pregnancies even though this is from the mothers’ point of view. The researcher reveals that early child birth in some communities is an acceptable finding and that social, cultural and demographic factors contribute to the geographical variations in teenage pregnancies.
She however acknowledges that service use (an important neighbourhood determinant of outcomes) was not examined in the study. Concepts discussed in the literature review are teenage pregnancy and fertility (reproductive behaviour) which is found to be associated with peer and neighbourhood influences. The British research on neighbourhoods is usually linked to contemporary debates about urban regeneration, neighbourhood renewal and the geographic dimensions of social exclusion (Blackman et al. , (2001).
This literature can be seen, in turn, as part of the work exploring social/spatial variations in all the effect of place on health and wellbeing (Flournoy and Yen, 2004). The conceptual backbone of this research on peer and neighbourhood influences is that, properties or norms emerge from the community and these exert their own influence on individuals behaviours spatially varying cultures exist that influence, shape, constrain or confine individuals behavioural preferences or predisposition (Teitler, 1998).
The researcher agrees that once a young woman conceives, friends and others in her social networks can exert verbal or other pressure on her to terminate or continue the pregnancy; friends who have experienced birth might constitute role models in the eyes of the pregnant young woman; and that the visibility of other young women who are pregnant or parenting sends out a strong signal about local attitudes to early motherhood. The study has however not demonstrated evidences to prove that peer influences contribute to early motherhood because of certain flaws in the choice of sample population.
The sample population has certain characteristics that have made it unsuitable for the researcher to come up with findings that depict the true picture of peer influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility. Most significant amongst these characteristics include the ethnicity of the subjects used (predominantly white in this case); the educational background of the subjects; confined opinion (only young mothers and coordinators were interviewed); and location of the subjects (Northumberland, Greater Manchester, and inner London).
In this research, data collection methods include face-to-face and semi-structured interview from young mothers in English location. In this type of research article, face-to- face interview is valid in other to eliminate bias in the sample (LoBiondo-wood and Haber, 1994). This research formed part of a wider study that includes the analysis of longitudinal data (Arai, 2004). Respondent were guaranteed anonymity and given expense.
However, autonomy actually refer to the independence and freedom to participate in a research study without the possibility of been cheated and with total access to all information regarding to the project investigated (Beauchamp et al. , 2001). The interview data from the respondents were transcribed and thematically analysed (Aronson, 1994; Rice and Ezzy, 2000). The predominance of a white ethnicity makes it unreasonable to generalise on behalf of individuals of other races on the subject topic.
Teenage mothers of other races may exhibit a different behaviour from peer influence. For example; African young mothers may exhibit a different behaviour from their Caucasian counterparts based on their level of civilisation, foundational cultural grip and upbringing. The poor educational background of the mothers interviewed may not give the true picture of the influence of peers as teenage mothers with sound educational background may have given a different opinion on the influences of peers based on their ability to rationalise and draw up informed choices.
The restricted opinion poll taken in this study has made the findings less reflective of the peer influences on teenage pregnancy and fertility. The information received from just 15 young mothers and 9 coordinators may not give a true reflection because other members of the society excluded from the study may have given alternative views on the issue. For example, partners of some of these young mothers may have been of the opinion that peer influence teenage pregnancy and fertility because some of these partners may have been witnesses to the events that culminated in the young woman’s behaviour.
The exploration of peer influence on behaviour is limited by the fact that individuals are often not aware if, or how, their behaviour is affected by others. The women provided accounts that were focused primarily on their friends and their immediate social networks; they were less inclined to discussing wider, community in?uences on behaviour. To explore wider, community in?uences, the women were asked about their perception of youthful childbearing in their past and present neighbourhoods, and their experiences, as young mothers.
This tried to test the mothers’ knowledge of a broader influence on her fertility however the aim was defeated because of individual bias. While interacting with the respondents, it was difficult to ask questions that seemed to suggest that there might be a culture of early fertility in the women’s localities without seeming to imply that there was something wrong with this. Most reported at least one experience of hostility towards them, though this usually took the form of isolated incidents and was not pervasive. No woman reported it affecting her daily movements.
Even when they encountered hostility from other people, the young women were eager to point out they had not been negatively affected by the birth of their child. Peer in?uences were mentioned by some coordinators, but not in isolation from other factors. Their accounts focused on macro in?uences on teenage pregnancy and fertility, such as deprivation, lack of opportunity and community norms. Simple, observable facts based on the research and co-ordinators’ experience ‘on the ground. A recurring idea in co-ordinators’ accounts was that some communities welcome, or even promote early childbearing.
Women in all locations reported experiencing minor acts of hostility (especially ‘looks’), but this may have been triggered by their (perceived) marital status and not their age, and was not pervasive. This suggests that teenage motherhood per se may not problematic in these locations, but not necessarily that it is encouraged or promoted. In conclusion, from the findings of the study, it is evident that the researcher has not adequately used a reasonable cross section of the factors that may show that peer and neighbourhood influence on teenage pregnancy is significant.