Motherhood on ice? A media framing analysis of older mothers in the UK news


Changing gender roles and increased sexual and economic freedom have created opportunities for women to give birth relatively late in life. However, stigma and misplaced fears about physical capacity are often reported as sources of anxiety among older, and in vitro fertilisation-induced mothers. In this study, we apply a specially adapted method for analysing news media content to a week's selection of material in the British media following the dissemination of research at an international medical conference. Our findings suggest, despite some positive commentaries, that much negative discourse is circulated by the media about older mothers, from implied claims of selfishness (older mothers as 'delaying' conception) to violations of the 'natural order'. These latter claims reflect the long-standing ambivalence by the media generally towards scientific advancement, but they also reveal continuing resistance towards unorthodox lifestyles.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
College of Health & Life Sciences
College of Health & Life Sciences > Chronic and Communicable Conditions
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an article published in Shaw, Rachel L. and Giles, David C. (2009). Motherhood on ice? A media framing analysis of older mothers in the UK news. Psychology and Health, 24 (2), pp. 221-236. Psychology and Health is available online at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: motherhood,in vitro fertilisation,ageing,parenting,media,discourse,Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health,Applied Psychology
Publication ISSN: 1476-8321
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 07:08
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 08:52
Full Text Link: http://www.tand ... 870440701601625
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2009-02
Authors: Shaw, Rachel L. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-0438-7666)
Giles, David C.



Version: Accepted Version

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