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This study explored role adaptation process of first-time Thai adolescent mothers who returned to school during childrearing. A qualitative grounded theory study was undertaken to examine the process of role adaptation as being mothers and students at the same time. The participants were 17 student mothers with a healthy baby aged no more than 3 years. In-depth interviews and non-participant observation were carried out. Data collection and analysis occurred simultaneously during May 2013 to May 2014. Purposive sampling was used to select the first five participants and the rest were recruited through theoretical sampling including snow ball technique.
The findings demonstrated that “achieving balance” was a core category of this study. Four axial categories were identified as their strategies used to adapt themselves in order to achieve balance in life during childrearing and studying including: 1) adjusting to new identities, 2) adapting lifestyles, 3) coping with the new roles, and 4) asking for supports.
Knowledge gained from this study is applicable for health care providers, particularly nursing educators and school nurses to facilitate and support adolescent mothers in dealing with maternal and student roles simultaneously in order to attain a balance in life. The substantive theory developed in this study can also be incorporated into nursing education of adolescent mothers to promote them remaining in school for their long term success.
Copyright: The Pacific Rim International Journal of Nursing Research, Thailand Nursing & Midwifery Council has exclusive rights to publish, reproduce and distribute the manuscript and all contents therein.