Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Alba DiCenso


The objective of this research was to investigate adolescent mothers' perceptions of the quality of their postpartum nursing care. The first of two studies was a matched cohort survey designed to compare unmarried adolescent and married adult mothers' satisfaction with their postpartum nursing care. Eighty adolescent/adult postpartum mother pairs were matched according to their parity, mode of delivery, infant health status, and infant feeding method. Although the two mother groups had similar health status, and received nursing care on the same postpartum unit during the same time period, adolescent mothers scored lower on the Newcastle Satisfaction with Nursing Scales (NSNS). Among the adolescents, post-cesarean section mothers were less satisfied than those who had delivered vaginally. Psychometric testing of the NSNS demonstrated its validity as a measure of postpartum patients' satisfaction with nursing care. The second study used a phenomenological approach to seek in-depth understanding of satisfactory and unsatisfactory nursing care from the perspective of adolescent mothers. Fourteen adolescent mothers recently discharged from one of four postpartum units were interviewed. Results indicate that adolescent mothers' satisfaction with nursing care is influenced by the interpersonal skills of nurses. Adolescent mothers' hesitancy to join in the interplay required to establish effective nurse-patient relationships places the initial responsibility of relationship development on the nurse. Adolescents expressd feeling 'at ease' with nurses and were encouraged to participate in relationship development when they perceived nursing care.

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Nursing Commons