Stigma and Mental Well-Being among Teenage Mothers in the Rural Areas of Makhado, Limpopo Province

Shonisane Emily Moganedi, Tshimangadzo Selina Mudau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Adolescent mothers experience psychological challenges, such as social withdrawal and rejection by their communities. Assuming the role of motherhood is associated with emotional and mental distress, such as fear and worry, regret and frustration, guilt and shame, and social isolation. This study adopted a qualitative critical participatory action research approach. Purposive and snowballing recruitment were employed to recruit 11 teenage mothers, and semi-structured face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions were employed to generate data. All sessions were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed using qualitative thematic analysis. Teenage mothers in this study reported experiencing humiliation and being subjected to degrading remarks and judgement by schoolmates. The experience of being rejected, teased, and labelled made participants feel that they were not accepted as part of their community. It was concluded that teenage mothers experienced inconsistent support from parents and community members, which led to social isolation and feeling rejected; hence, teenage mothers lacked a sense of belonging to and acceptance by their communities. Policymakers and authorities in education and healthcare should encourage social change and transformative learning and address the issue of stigma and social isolation experienced by teenage mothers in rural communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • action research
  • discrimination
  • marginalisation
  • rejection
  • social inclusion
  • social isolation
  • social justice


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