Investigating the Experience of Teenage Pregnancy in Prince George, BC

(July 2004 – June 2006; BCMSF)

Principal Investigator: Jean Shoveller

Co-Investigator(s): Joy Johnson; Ken Prkachin

Teenage pregnancy has significant health and social impacts on many young people, particularly those living in BC’s north. Using a modified ethnographic approach whereby a total of six weeks of fieldwork over a seven-month period was completed in Prince George (PG), this study examined: (1) How teen mothers perceive social, cultural, economic and service-level forces to influence their opinions, experiences and aspirations regarding their formal education, parenting, employment seeking, and housing opportunities; (2) How service providers working directly with teen mothers perceive such forces to influence teen mothers’ opinions, experiences and aspirations regarding formal education, parenting, employment seeking, and housing opportunities.

In December 2005, we presented the findings of our study to young mothers and their children, health care and social service providers, and other community stakeholders. This “launch” of our community report was held at the Prince George Native Friendship Centre and opened with a welcome and blessing by a member of the Dakelth First Nations Elders Society. After a brief summary of our research findings, Street Spirits Theatre Company performed an interactive play entitled “Wednesday’s Child,” which incorporated many of the findings of our study. Street Spirits, whose members are local youth, produce and perform interactive plays about socially significant issues facing young people in their community. “Wednesday’s Child” involved actors and audience members in identifying strategies to address the discrimination and other barriers facing a fictional young woman who learns that she is pregnant.

Total: $49,990