Family support for first-time mothers in the Aleutians

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Mason, Rachel (2004)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: International Journal of Circumpolar Health (issn: 1797-237X, eissn: 1239-9736)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/ijch.v63i0.17772
  • Subject: Alaska and Russian Indigenous communities, critical life event, family, health surveys, motherhood

Objective. This paper examines changes in the support first-time mothers receive from parents and other relatives in Aleutian communities. Study Design. Data were collected as part of the Social Transitions in the North study. Data used in this study came from the Aleutian communities of St. Paul, Akutan, Unalaska and Sand Point, Alaska. Methods. The STN study data using a combination of background ethnographies, a detailed survey instrument, open-ended interviews, Kleinman focus groups and genealogies. These were meant to complement and build upon each other. Result. While it appears that teenage pregnancies still occur while the unmarried mother lives with her parents, the social context of such situations has changed considerably since the 1970s. Many respondents indicated that although families are more fragmented than previously, the responsibility for raising children continues to be shared throughout the extended family. Nuclear family households have become more prevalent. Government transfers and housing have become more readily available for young single mothers. Conclusions. The extended family is still a viable social and economic unit in Aleutian villages. People may live in nuclear family households, but parents, grandparents and other relatives are still a strong support for young mothers.(Int J Circumpolar Health 2004; 63 suppl 1:39-42)Keywords: Alaska and Russian Indigenous communities, critical life event, family, health surveys, motherhood
  • References (4)

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    4. Lantis, M.The Aleut Social System, 1750 to 1810, from Early Historical Sources. In Ethnohistory in Southwestern Alaska and the Southern Yukon: Method and Content. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1970, Pp. 139-301.

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