AbstractsSocial Work

Successful life outcomes of children raised by single mothers

by Erica L. Kulukjian

Institution: California State University – Sacramento
Department: Social Work
Degree: MSW
Year: 2015
Keywords: Social capital; Role modeling; Single motherhood; Single parent; Single mother; Exceptionalism; Parenting; Parenthood; Single mothers
Record ID: 2061322
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/138854


This study explored factors that contribute to successful life outcomes in the lives of adults who grew up in single female headed households. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the validity of the perception of single parenting in itself as a deficit model without acknowledging the lack of both the economic and the social capital that accompany single motherhood. A mixed-method design was used with content analysis as the primary tool for analyzing the data collected from biographies of adults who were raised by single mothers. Findings indicate that mother???s demonstrative affection and consideration of the exceptionalism of their children were factors responsible for success as reported by adults who were raised in single parent families. The majority of the respondents reported having positively strong relationships with their mothers and that financial hardship coupled with lack of support emerged as the dominant factors that presented difficulties in their childhood while growing in single female headed households. Despite the difficult factors, the majority of the respondents reported having optimism and not having a sense of hopelessness while growing up and as adults, due to the strength of the relational bond with their mothers. Additionally, nearly half of them reported the value of the positive role models set by their mothers in establishing the values of hard work and aspirations for success. Respondents who reported their mothers as having a religious affiliation or spiritual background were more likely to demonstrate a more optimistic outlook than those who grew up in households where mothers who did not identify having any faith-based beliefs. Social work implications and recommendations include the need for economic and social support to single female-headed families within the parameters of a strengths-based model that strengthens the environment for stable family structures devoid of the interference in children???s physical, social and mental health that may be imposed by the insistence on a two parent structure, where one or both the parents do not possess the readiness for parenthood.