Turning the Lens Toward Emotions: Considering HIV-Positive Adolescent Mothers in South Africa

Morolake Josephine Adeagbo, Kammila Naidoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The idea that adolescence, an important developmental stage in human life is embodied in emotions is not new. However, the association between adolescence, unplanned motherhood, and HIV infection, which often lead to unanticipated transitions, may influence a rethink toward understanding the emotional and mental states of adolescent mothers. Using a sociological lens, this article draws on the concept of “emotionality” and the importance of paying attention to “emotions” in offering analysis of the new reality, which HIV-positive adolescent mothers find themselves in South Africa. Specifically, this article shifts the social research focus from behavioral (e.g. sexual behaviors) research to exploring HIV-positive adolescent mothers’ feelings, thus paying heed to a subjective emotional landscape. Through an inductive thematic analysis, the emotional accounts and unifying themes extracted from 13 (10 HIV-positive adolescent mothers and three key informants) semistructured in-depth interviews present an understanding of the various needs of an emerging youthful generation living with HIV, rather than a narrow, conventional focus on costs, risks, and impending mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-370
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Africa
  • adolescent parenting (motherhood/fatherhood)
  • gender
  • physical health
  • qualitative methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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