The Information Behaviours of Disadvantaged Young First-time Mothers



Buchanan S & Jardine C (2023) The Information Behaviours of Disadvantaged Young First-time Mothers. Journal of Documentation, 79 (2), pp. 357-375.

Purpose: to explore the information behaviours of socioeconomically disadvantaged young first-time mothers, an understudied and at-risk group (health and wellbeing). Design/methodology: questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with 39 young mothers (aged ≤25) from UK areas of multiple deprivations. Findings: Our mothers preferred sources of information are interpersonal sources with which they have formed close supportive relationships. Support groups are important sources of interpersonal connection, but young mothers are reluctant to attend groups involving older mothers. With the exception of support group staff and health visitors, institutional and professional information sources are used very little. Societal stigma is a significant issue influencing behaviours, but issues of institutional bureaucracy, information overload, conflicting information, and practical access are also reported. A further key factor influencing behaviour is self-identity. Research limitations/implications: findings should not be considered representative of young mothers as a whole as not all young mothers are disadvantaged. As our participants identified as ethnically white, findings also cannot speak to the additional barriers experienced by women of colour. Further studies are recommended. Further studies exploring the influence of self-identity on people’s information behaviours are also recommended. Practical implications: findings provide practical direction for health and welfare services, and public libraries, to better support young mothers. Originality/value: findings contribute to our conceptual and practical understanding of information poverty in the socio-ecological context. Findings also evidence the role of self-identity in shaping people’s information behaviours. Keywords: information behaviour; information poverty; self-identity; health communication; health education; young mothers.

information behavior; information poverty; self-identity; health communication; health education; young mothers

Journal of Documentation: Volume 79, Issue 2

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/03/2023
Publication date online30/06/2022
Date accepted by journal12/06/2022

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Professor Steven Buchanan

Professor Steven Buchanan

Professor in Comms., Media and Culture, Communications, Media and Culture