Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Management

Committee Director

Wolfgang Pindur

Committee Member

Leonard I. Ruchelman

Committee Member

Edward Markowski


This study uses the post-test only design to assess the preliminary effects of a community-based policy initiative, the Norfolk State University Resource Mothers Program (RMP), on the gestational ages, birth weights, and survival rates of infants born to participating adolescent mothers.

The RMP uses experienced mothers or paraprofessionals similar in race and socio-economic status to the participating teenagers. These persons are trained to assist pregnant adolescents and teen parents with nonmedical dimensions of pregnancy and child care. They recruit teens into the RMP, encouraging them to get early prenatal care. Resource Mothers provide teen mothers and their families with practical help as needed, and help increase community awareness of the infant mortality and adolescent pregnancy issues.

This analysis compares selected pregnancy outcomes of participants in the RMP with pregnancy outcomes of participants in an alternate program, young mothers who receive traditional prenatal care without structured psycho-social support, and with teens who receive no prenatal care. The pregnancy outcomes of the total study population and subgroups also are compared with national, state, regional and local low birth weight rates, and high infant mortality rates. Study findings show that premature deliveries and low birth weight babies are lower among adolescent mothers, at increased risk for delivering low weight infants, by using a specialized support program involving lay home-visitors who share socio-economic characteristics of the adolescents' families or a multi-disciplinary program with home visiting.