UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Health-related information practices and the experiences of young parents Greyson, Devon


Background: Young parents are targeted by a variety of health information interventions, aiming to educate and monitor them in order to improve population health. However, we know little about the ways young parents use health information or experience health information interventions in their everyday lives. Objectives: The objectives of the dissertation are to use a series of article-style chapters to: (1) describe the health-related information practices of young parents (Chapter 3); (2) explore how knowledge and expertise are discursively constructed within young parents’ health information worlds (Chapter 4); and (3) examine the functioning and values of population health information interventions in the lives of young parents (Chapter 5). Methods: The analyses presented in this dissertation are based on data collected via ethnographic observation at two Young Parent Programs and individual interviews with 37 young mothers and 2 young fathers ages 15-24 in Greater Vancouver, British Columbia. Data was analyzed in accordance with constructivist grounded theory and situational analysis. Results: Young parents in Greater Vancouver were often sophisticated health information seekers. Information assessment was a major task, for which young parents employed various methods of triangulation. These practices took place in social worlds that discursively constructed the “teen mom” as paradoxically knowledgeable (in matters of sexuality and technology) and ignorant (in matters of parenting and health. Population health information interventions (communication and surveillance) were prominent in these social worlds, and carried ethical implications for social justice. Young parent acceptance varied depending on the positionality of those implementing interventions, as well as their intrusiveness and level of stigmatization of young parents. Conclusion: By investigating, documenting, and theorizing the ways young parents interact with health information in the contexts of their everyday lives, this study generated theory that can help inform information interventions aimed at supporting this public health priority population. Programs and materials for young parents should take into account the heterogeneity of their childcare experience and parenting knowledge, as well as cultural norms. Future research should further explore the intersection between individual information practices and health information interventions, and test the emergent theoretical propositions related to population health information interventions.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada