Date of Conferral
Dr. Medha Talpade
Researchers have neglected to focus on understanding the relationships between stress, coping, and social support among single mothers versus mothers who are not single. Knowledge regarding how single mothers' lives are affected by stress, social support, and coping is important, and such information can help readers better understand how effectively single mothers raise children compared with mothers who are not single. A convenience sample of 173 mothers completed this study. Participants in this study consisted of mothers who were (a) raising at least one child ages 18 and under who lives in the home and (b) who were between the ages 20 to 55 years old with a 12th-grade education or greater. Participants were classified into single mothers (those who reported their status as single, to include never married, separated, divorced, in a committed relationship, and widowed; n = 75) and those who were not single (those who reported their status as married, n = 98). Data were scored based on 3 measurement scales: (a) the Perceived Stress Scale, (b) the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, (c) and the Social Support Scale. An independent samples t test determined that mothers who were not single had higher social support than did single mothers, whereas single mothers had higher perceived stress than mothers who were not single. There were no significant differences on measures of coping. An analysis of covariance revealed no significant difference between stress and coping strategies among the mothers when social support was held constant. This study contributes to social change by providing awareness of the importance of social support to professionals and for single mothers. The findings of this quantitative study can thus guide single parenting research and interventions.