Understanding the Information Needs of Young First Time Mothers from Areas of Multiple Deprivation

Impact: Impact - for External PortalHealth and welfare - new products, guidelines and services, Professional practice, training and standards

Who is affected

Young first time mothers and their children. Academics from information science and the social sciences interested in information poverty, social exclusion, and self-protective behaviours. Professionals involved in the provision of information for health and wellbeing.


A major ESRC funded information poverty study conducted in partnership with Glasgow Life and Barnardo’s exploring how public information providers spanning (but not limited to) health, social care, and education can support young first time mothers (YFTM) and their children to prosper in the digital age.

The UK has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Western Europe, with associated conception rates correlated to multiple deprivation indexes. At risk groups are disadvantaged and disengaged, with significant health and wellbeing issues reported for both mother and child. Intervention programmes focus on early parenting needs with on-going holistic support considered key to long-term social inclusion; however, there is evidence that mainstream services are failing to provide such support with significant unmet information needs reported, and overarching concerns raised regarding equity of access to information in both the physical and digital space.

There are complex, and as yet not fully understood, access barriers and internalised behavioural barriers, the former influenced by digital divide and information literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms; barriers that we believe put YFTM, and in turn their children, at risk of living a stratified and disengaged existence within an impoverished (small) information world. This project brings together theories of social capital and social networks with theories and models of information behaviour to address issues of information poverty in both the physical and digital space.

We are seeking to comprehensively identify everyday information needs, seeking preferences and challenges, and typologically map these and associated information requirements to existing information services, incorporating gap analysis. By mapping information needs to services we can contribute significantly to the important discussion of how public information providers can support and empower YFTM information seeking, and help providers develop new YFTM-appropriate services. Importantly, we will also identify and investigate behavioural barriers, how they manifest in both physical and digital space, and identify appropriate intervention points and strategies to inform future public policy. Of interest to academics and practitioners, findings and recommendations will advance our understanding of information poverty and associated self-protective behavior, and assist service providers with evidence-based intervention amongst marginalised, disadvantaged and stigmatised groups beyond YFTM.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactHealth and welfare - new products, guidelines and services, Professional practice, training and standards
Impact levelBenefit


  • information behaviour
  • information poverty
  • social inclusion