Date of Conferral







Cheryl Tyler-Balkcom


Traditionally, research involving single African American mothers (SAAMs) has been conducted using problem-focused or cultural deficit models with the emphases on the disadvantages. Consequently, little is known about how these women view their experiences as single mothers concerning their resilience and maternal self-efficacy. Using a snowball sampling method, 15 SAAMs were recruited to participate in this phenomenological study. This study employed a subject-intensive theoretical framework. Face-to-face interviews (using a questionnaire), participant observation, and a focus group were the methods used to capture the essence of the SAAMs' abilities to thrive despite the challenges associated with single parenting. All encounters were audiotaped and the data were manually transcribed. Theming was used to analyze the data of the study. Twelve themes emerged, along with a set of sub-themes. The findings provided narratives from the SAAMs regarding the unique challenges of culture, parenting styles and skills, and social supports that enabled them to navigate their children through adversities. All of the participants identified God and faith as the heart of successful parenting. This study contributes to the cultivation of positive social change by offering sound literature that dispels the myths and stereotypes traditionally associated with these mothers and their children. The study also reaffirms the necessity of culturally-relevant models of study and qualitative methods of research, as they tend to provide a more positive and holistic perspective of the phenomenon. Moreover, these findings give a voice and encouragement to SAAMs to become stakeholders in the underpinning of support groups for younger SAAMs and their children in the use of resilience and maternal self-efficacy.