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Elek, Zsuzsanna Réka
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Children’s Opportunities Research Group

Topic: Consequences of inadequate opportunity structures on teenage childbearing

Keywords: teenage childbearing, cycle of deprivation, inadequate opportunity structures


Most social scientific studies frame teenage childbearing as a social problem, and focus on the negative long-term effects on mothers and their children, but only few concentrate on the concrete features of opportunity structures from the perspective of the adolescent mothers and their children. The present pilot research was held in three of the most disadvantaged rural areas in Hungary, and interviews were made with mothers who had their children as adolescents. The presentation highlights the mechanisms of how the lack of adequate availability of jobs, social, educational and housing services effect the everyday life and life chances of teenage mothersnand their children. Inapproprate opportunity structures in the case of teenage mothers and their children can lead finally to the cycle of deprivation and social exclusion as the spatial and social disadvantages are highly connected. Although the child protection system would be responsible for decreasing certain difficulties of families, we experienced a high level of mistrust from the side of the most needy families. The role of Roma ethnicity will be also in consideration. While the lack of adequate opportunity structures interfere the breaking of the cycle of deprivation, concerned families adopt resilient strategies in which the role of the family becomes highly essential.

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