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22-01-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2019

The Stigma of Being a Young Parent: Development of a Measurement Tool and Predictors

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2019
Whitney S. Rice, Lila A. Sheira, Elizabeth Greenblatt, Madeline Blodgett, Kate Cockrill
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-018-01306-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Many young parents perceive stigma from their communities and experience barriers and discrimination in school and healthcare, which may result in health and social consequences. The current study develops and validates a Young Parent Stigma Scale (YPSS), and examines score variation.


Young parent stigma was conceptualized using literature review and stakeholder interviews. We generated a pool of 66 items and conducted cognitive interviews with 12 young parents to pre-test and subsequently revise the items. A revised self-administered survey was completed by 370 parenting youth aged 13–24 across the USA.


We conducted exploratory factor analysis to develop a 23-item scale with five subscales: internalized, enacted, anticipated, felt and racialized stigma. Each subscale had low to moderate correlation with the others (0.41–0.59), and demonstrated adequate internal reliability (α = 0.64–0.88). The total scale one-factor model loaded similarly as the five factor model (α = 0.92). YPSS total scale scores varied by sociodemographic characteristic, with male gender, lower socioeconomic status, northeast and southern residence, non-Christianity, and Arab/Middle–Eastern descent associated with higher stigma. Psychosocial experiences (postpartum mental and emotional well-being, and intimate partner violence) were also associated with higher total YPSS scale scores.


The YPSS total scale and its subscales demonstrated good psychometric properties and this study highlights the groups of adolescent parents most affected. The YPSS can be used to measure the latent construct of young parent stigma and the subscales can be used independently to measure aspects of this construct.

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