Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 431-446

First online:

Immediate and Longer-Term Connections Between Support and Stress in Pregnant/Parenting and Non-Pregnant/Non-Parenting Adolescents

  • Paul G. DevereuxAffiliated withSchool of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno Email author 
  • , Daniel J. WeigelAffiliated withUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension
  • , Deborah Ballard-ReischAffiliated withElliott School of Communication, Wichita State University
  • , Geoffrey LeighAffiliated withUniversity of Nevada Cooperative Extension
  • , Kristy L. CahoonAffiliated withInterdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Social Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno

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Despite the substantial amount of literature focusing on social support for pregnant and parenting adolescents, few studies have directly examined the relationships among stress and social support across their transition to parenting. The present study investigates the nature of the relationship between stress and support both before and after the birth of the baby. Two groups of adolescent females (one group facing parenthood and one not) completed measures of support and stress across a 7-month period (N = 231) to coincide with the transition to parenthood. In general, support and stress were negatively related when measured concurrently and positively related over time for parenting adolescents but not the non-parenting group. Understanding how long social support impacts stress will enable practitioners to identify when best to provide interventions for pregnant and parenting adolescents.


Social support Stress Adolescent pregnancy Adolescent parenting