Family stress, coping, communication, and adaptation in unintended adolescent pregnancy

Jacquelyn C Williams, The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston


Objective. This study examines post-crisis family stress, coping, communication, and adaptation using the Double ABC-X Model of Family Adaptation in families with a pregnant or postpartum adolescent living at home. Methods. Ninety-eight pregnant and parenting adolescents between ages 14 and 18 years (Group 1 at 20 or more weeks gestation; Group 2 at delivery and 8 weeks postpartum) and their parent(s) completed instruments congruent with the model to measure family stress, coping, communication, and adaptation. Descriptive family data was obtained. Mother-daughter data was analyzed for differences between subjects and within subjects using paired t-tests. Correlational analysis was used to examine relationships among variables. Results. More than 90% of families were Hispanic. There were no significant differences between mother and daughter mean scores for family stress or communication. Adolescent coping was not significantly correlated to family coping at any interval. Adolescent family adaptation scores were significantly lower than mothers' scores at delivery and 8 weeks postpartum. Mean individual ratings of family variables did not differ significantly between delivery and 8 weeks postpartum. Simultaneous multiple regression analysis showed that stress, coping, and communication significantly influenced adaptation for mothers and daughters at all three intervals. The relative contributions of the three independent variables exhibited different patterns for mothers and daughters. Parent-adolescent communication accounted for most of the variability in adaptation for daughters at all three intervals. Daughters' family stress ratings were significant for adaptability (p = .01) during the pregnancy and for cohesion (p = .03) at delivery. Adolescent coping (p = .03) was significant for cohesion at 8 weeks postpartum. Family stress was a significant influence at all three intervals for mothers' ratings of family adaptation. Parent-adolescent communication was significant for mother's perception of both family cohesion (p < .001) and adaptability (p < .001) at delivery and 8 weeks, but not during pregnancy. Conclusions. Mothers' and daughters' ratings of family processes were similar regarding family stress and communication, but were significantly different for family adaptation. Adolescent coping may not reflect family coping. Family communication is a powerful component in family functioning and may be an important focus for interventions with adolescents and parents.

Subject Area

Nursing|Behaviorial sciences|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Williams, Jacquelyn C, "Family stress, coping, communication, and adaptation in unintended adolescent pregnancy" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3164936.