Adolescent, African American, loneliness, mothers, self-esteem, social support



  1. Hudson, Diane Brage PhD, RN
  2. Campbell-Grossman, Christie PhD, RN
  3. Kupzyk, Kevin A. PhD
  4. Brown, Sara E. EdD, RN
  5. Yates, Bernice C. PhD, RN, CCRN
  6. Hanna, Kathleen M. PhD, RN, CNS


Aims: The aims of this study are to describe for single, low-income, adolescent, African American new mothers how (1) primary sources of social support changed over time, (2) the level of social support (emotional, informational, tangible, and problematic) from these primary sources changed over time, and (3) social support from the primary supporter was associated with mothers' psychosocial well-being (self-esteem and loneliness) over time.


Design: A secondary analysis was conducted of data from a previous social support intervention study.


Sample: The sample consisted of 35 single, low-income, adolescent (mean [SD] age, 18.3 [1.7] years), African American new mothers.


Methods: Mothers completed social support, self-esteem, and loneliness instruments at 1 and 6 weeks and 3 and 6 months postpartum.


Results: Most mothers (64.7%) had changes in their primary social support provider during the first 6 months postpartum. The combination of the adolescent's mother and boyfriend provided the highest level of support, no matter the type, relative to any other source of support. At every time point, positive correlations were found between emotional support and self-esteem and between problematic support and loneliness.


Conclusion: Single, low-income, African American, adolescent new mothers are at risk for not having a consistent source of support, which may lead to lower self-esteem and greater loneliness.


Implications: Clinical nurse specialists could facilitate care guidelines for these new mothers to identify their sources of support at each home visit and advocate for the adolescent's mother and boyfriend to work together to provide support. Bolstering the mothers' natural sources of support can potentially improve self-esteem and reduce loneliness. Improvement in these sources of support could prevent a decline in the mothers' psychosocial well-being. Development and testing support interventions are advocated; findings could guide clinical nurse specialists in addressing these new mothers' needs.