Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Research Reports
Title: Getting it right first time: understanding and supporting the information needs of disadvantaged young first-time mothers
Other Titles: Public report for UK Economic and Social Research project ES/L012634/1
Author(s): Buchanan, Steven
Contact Email:
Citation: Buchanan S (2020) Getting it right first time: understanding and supporting the information needs of disadvantaged young first-time mothers [Public report for UK Economic and Social Research project ES/L012634/1]. Public report for UK Economic and Social Research project ES/L012634/1.
Keywords: Human Information Behaviour, Information Need, Health Communication, Health Education, Mothers, Motherhood.
Issue Date: 10-Jun-2020
Date Deposited: 10-Jun-2020
Publisher: Economic and Social Research Council
Abstract: This work sought to better understand the information needs of young mothers from UK areas of multiple deprivations, their information seeking behaviours, and influencing factors. Information informs, guides, and empowers; but barriers to use can be societally divisive, particularly amongst disadvantaged groups. There are complex access barriers and internalised behavioural barriers to consider, the former influenced by technology and media literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms; barriers that can put young mothers, and in turn their children, at risk of living a stratified and disengaged existence within a small information world, and at heightened risk of negative health outcomes and poor life prospects. Through the voices of the young mothers and their support workers, this report provides significant insight into the factors influencing effective information interactions with young mothers, and reminds us of the importance of holistic personalised approaches to health and social care in the problematic context. We observed and participated in multiple support groups, and visited mothers in their homes. Via surveys, interviews, and focus groups involving 62 mothers we gained in-depth insight into their information needs, and the factors influencing how their needs are met (or not). We also observed young mother interactions with support workers, and via interviews and focus groups with 54 support workers, gained insight into the challenges of health communication and education in disadvantaged circumstances, and the factors contributing to effective interactions with mothers. In summary, four key findings are reported: the information needs of young mothers are complex: interpersonal information sources are important; use of State provided digital health and care services is low; and an important information intermediary role is evident in community support workers. In relation, four key recommendations are made: the design of health and social care systems for young mothers should recognise and support their holistic information needs; the primary form of health and social care communication to young mothers should be interpersonal and interactive; community based ‘bridges’ are required to encourage young mother use of state provided digital health and social care services; and community based approaches to health literacy education are needed to develop independent life skills in young mothers. This major study of human information behaviour advances our understanding of effective methods of health communication and education amongst an at-risk group, and contributes to the important discussion of how state and third sector services can support disadvantaged young mothers and their children to prosper in the digital age.
Type: Research Report
Rights: Copyright is held by the author. Proper attribution of authorship and correct citation details should be given.
Affiliation: Communications, Media and Culture
Licence URL(s):

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
YFTM Public Report.pdfFulltext - Published Version3 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.