Date of Conferral

2018

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Ruth Crocker

Abstract

Many single working mothers are challenged with the task of balancing work and home demands. Prolonged exposure to stress can threaten individuals' physical and emotional health and well-being. Listening to music is one commonly used positive coping mechanism for stress management and relief. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of single working mothers who regularly listen to New Age music for stress relief. Participants were single working mothers, 30â??45 years old, with self-reported stress, who were employed at least part time and who had at least 1 child under 18 years of age in the home. Participants were interviewed on their experiences with home and work-related stress, motherhood, and listening to New Age music for stress relief. This inquiry was guided by feminist theory, and data was analyzed using Moustakas' modification of Van Kaam's method of data analysis. The responses from these interviews identified the stress factors experienced by these single working mothers, which included finances, workplace stress, childcare, transportation, and working mother stereotypes. Participants also described the calming effects of New Age music on self-reported symptoms of physical and emotional stress. These reported effects include the promotion of mental focus and an immediate physical and emotional release from stress. The results of this study may contribute to positive social change by highlighting the benefits of listening to New Age music as an alternate means of stress management and relief; this implication could indirectly save employers considerable expense in stress-related health care and missed work. These findings may serve as a basis for future quantitative research into the use of music for stress relief.

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