Chapter2 Review of Literature Thischapter reviews existing literature that has bearing to the present study. Itbegins with the discussion of a Single Mother and the coping mechanism ofsingle mothers in terms of economics, emotional and psychological aspects.Lived experiences ofsingle mothers in raising their childrenIntoday’s society, there are many different types of family. Some includes:intact, non-intact, single families, stepfamilies and a variety of others.Along with this different variety of families there was one common incidentthat can cause the family structure to change. One of the most striking changesof family structure over the last twenty years has been the increase insingle-parent families. Thenumber of single mothers in the Philippines had grown rapidly through thedecades that have passed and this growing sector in the Philippines wouldcontinue to rise as society grows and changes through time. Because solo-parentfamilies are now noticeable in society, they had become a vital subculture thatwas had to be accepted as a legitimate and valid unit of society (Ortigas 1996,12).
Beyond the pressure and stressthat single parents must deal with, they were also very much concerned withproviding finances to their own family. Some single parent, specificallymothers who never worked in their entire life, would be forced to work in afull-time basis. This does not only add pressure to single parenthood but moreimportantly, it limits the time that the mother spends with their children (Walsh,2003). Financialcrisis was standing situation with most of single parent families. It becomesdifficult in meeting the basic needs of children such as food, clothing, schoolfees, maintaining the previous standard of living and meet personal expenses (Nidhiand Bharti, 2009).Susan,(n.d.
) states that single mothers’unemployment has been stated to be more than twice as much as married women’s,and the reason suggested that single mothers had difficulty in finding jobsthat were steady with their family care responsibilities. It has been noted thatthis high unemployment rate was troubling for families since one fifth of allfamilies with children were headed by working single mothers, and families ofsingle mothers (considering both those who work and those who do not together)have higher poverty rate of 28.3 per cent.Employmentregardless of income or number of hours worked, offers some protection againstmental health problem according to Ali and Avison (1997), as cited by Gyamfi,Brooks-Gunn, and Jackson, (2001) and Samuels- Dennis (2007). Problem of single mothers (2012) claimthat a father’s historical role in the family has been a breadwinner. So, thesingle mother was plunged into poverty. The economic position of women who livealone with their children remains risky and single motherhood is a major reasonfor poverty among women and thus their over-representation among the poor. Singlewomen with children experience much higher levels of poverty than any otherfamily type.
In part, this was due to the prevalence of low paying, femaledominated occupations-which typically pay in minimum wage or only slightlyhigher. Single mothers also face challenges arranging and paying forchild-care, which can comprise about 1/3 of the household budget depending uponthe age of the child. Mother-onlyfamilies was more likely to be poor because of the lower earning capacity ofsingle mothers, the insufficient benefits provided by the state, and the lackof child support provided from the non-residential father (Garfinkel &McLanhan, 1986).Financial problems were more or less the firstproblem that most one-parent families face. The single mother was normally seenas the woman who works long hours at low wages. To support her family was thebest thing to envision, but there were different kinds of problems for differentsingle mothers and some of them don’t even have this problem. There are manysingle mothers who are coping well with their finances.
There were fathers who willingly pay for theirchild’s/children’s education and needs and mothers who were self-sufficient whowere capable of making the ends meet. Some have well-paying professional jobs,while some do not (McCoy 1987, 149). Because financial problems were given somuch importance by society, single mothers have been pushed to do better with regardsto their income.Kunz, (2014) claims that single parents, usuallymothers, lack financial support from the father and were often required to worklonger hours. Because of this, the children receive less attention and guidancethat hinders their social development as well as academic performance.
Usuallysingle mothers were prone to poverty because they’re the ones providing the needsof their children such as food and clothing and school fees. Every single day asingle mother struggles to find a better job because they always think of thesecurity of their children. The compounding economic difficulties of loneparenthood result in a high probability that a single-parent family was a poorone. Poverty rates among the lone parent families often higher than those ingeneral population, (Orthner, Sanpei and Williams, 2004).
Single mother remainsvulnerable to several continuing risk factors, including financial and foodinsecurity, poor health care and poor quality housing in unsafe neighbourhood.This influenced both their physical and mental health.Nelson(1990), cited in Waruesporn, (2011) argues that family income has effects on asingle-mother’s life, which may diminish the emotional well-being of parentsand have negative effects on children’s self-esteem and behavior in school.Single-mother families are at a high risk of poverty and a poor psychologicalhealth due to the pressure the single-mother has to put up with in working toearn an income to meet the family’s needs, leading to fatigue and emotionalimbalance, which results in a lack of time spent with children. Parentsunder economic stress and single-parents often poorly supervise their childrenand may let them gain autonomy too early. Unsupervised adolescents are morelikely to be involved in risky behaviors such as cigarette smoking, alcoholdrinking, drug use, early sexual activity resulting in adolescent pregnancy (Richardsonet al., 1993 and Blum et al., 2000, as cited in Waruesporn, 2011).
Stressof separation or divorce may lead to poor mental health (Afifi et al., 2006).While separated and divorced mothers had increased chances of having anxietyrelated disorders and depression. GAD compared to never married motherssuggests that, simply being a single mother does not increase the chances ofhaving psychiatric disorder. Previousstudy had confirmed that it was negative relations with spouse that were linkedwith depression (Schuster et al.
, 1990; Zlotnick et al., 1990 in Afifi et al., 2006).
This study confirmed that the interactions with a partner can cause depressionand they don’t think about the possible outcomes if they come up intoseparation.Mclanahanand Sandefur (1994) found that single mothers seemed to suffer more following adivorce, perhaps because they typically experienced a severe loss of income dueto lack of husband support Most singlemothers were facing so many difficulties like financial. Single mothers alsoexperienced less access to occupational training and less access to the highereducation needed to pull themselves and their children out of poverty (White, 2004p.7).Single Mother’sCoping Mechanism As cited bySamuels-Dennis (2007), due to research limitations, it was difficult to provideconclusive statement about the association between single mothers’ copingrepertoire, socioeconomic status, and their mental health. However studiesagree that coping behavior do not differ by family status i.e., single mothervs.
partnered. Positive coping through the use ofhelp-seeking from informal sources and the use of problem-solving strategieswere positively related with women’s well-being (Cohen and Dekel inSamuels-Dennis, 2007). On the other hand, avoidance coping was a positivepredictor of depressive symptoms (Hall et al. in Samuels-Dennis, 2007).
Given the above-mentioned, it was importantalso to consider the context of single mothers’ lives-poverty, lack of orcompromise social network, chronic physical and mental illness, risk ofhomelessness- and they’re ability to control or alter types of stressors theyencounter, may in part explain the needs for single mothers on social assistanceto predominantly utilize avoidance strategies (Samuels-Dennis, 2007).Thelived experiences of single mothers in raising their children include the economichardship, emotional and psychological were also part of the experiences inraising their children. In the lived experiences of single mothers in terms ofcoping mechanism was also part of this study to know the real situation ofsingle mothers today.The researchers wanted to find out the experiences ofsingle mothers in facing their difficulties in life in raising their childreneven without the support of their husband/partner and how they survived thosestruggles without any help of others. Also this study wants to find out how themothers guided their children, in terms of behavior and explaining to them thesituation that they have.