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

Funding:  Economic and Social Research Council

Partners: Glasgow Life and Barnardo’s

Start date: June 1st 2015                                End date: Feb 28th 2018

Note.  Please note that this is an archived record of a now closed project.


This project was a three year ESRC funded study that sought to better understand the information needs of young first time mothers from areas of multiple deprivations, their information behaviours, and the factors influencing their information behaviours.  It explored complex issues of information access and behaviour, the former influenced by digital divide and literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms.

Our overarching theoretical framework brought together theories of human information behaviour with theories of social capital to explore shared concepts of social integration, understood as participation, access, and engagement. The main study zone was the Greater Glasgow urban area extending to semirural areas across the Central Belt of Scotland.

Our findings will be of interest to both academics and health and social care practitioners. We provide theoretical insights into: the complexity of information needs and formative stages of need recognition and expression; the important role of interpersonal sources of information; the limited use of state digital services; and the vital information intermediary role of health and social care professionals.

Our findings will also help guide health communication policy and practice, providing health and social care providers spanning (but not limited to) health, social care, education and public libraries with guidance regarding what information to provide, to whom, and how.  In so doing, we contribute significantly to the important discussion of how public information providers can support and empower young mothers and their children in the digital age.  Findings also have wider applicability to other disadvantaged (socioeconomic) groups.

Photo by luliia Bondarenko from Pixabay licensed under SPL. Available at: