Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

1-1-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Barry S. Markman

Abstract

Depression and stress occur among single mothers and raising a child with a developmental disability can be a difficult burden. The purpose of this study was to determine if having a child with a developmental disability was a source of stress and depression among single mothers, and if this impinged on parental self-efficacy, parenting satisfaction, and social support. The moderating potential of having a child with a disability was examined on relationships between stress, depression, parental self-efficacy, parenting satisfaction, and social support. Understanding these relationships could be useful in the service delivery system to single mothers and families of children with developmental disabilities.

A total of 192 single mothers were divided into two groups: mothers of children with developmental disabilities (n=93) and mothers of children without disabilities (n=99). Participants were unmarried with no live-in romantic partners, who were residing with at least one biological child between the age of 5 and 17 years. Basic demographics were used for inclusionary purposes and to calculate SES. Four instruments assessed stress (Perceived Stress Scale-10), depression (BDI-II), parental self-efficacy and parenting satisfaction (Parental Sense of Competence Scale), and social support (Family Support Scale).

Overall results indicated that single mothers who had higher stress and depression levels had lower parental self-efficacy and parenting satisfaction. After accounting for significant covariates, mother's age and number of children within the home, no statistically significant differences were found between the two groups on measures of stress, depression, parental self-efficacy, parenting satisfaction, and social support.

Having a child with a developmental disability did not moderate relationships between stress and parental self-efficacy, social support, or depression, but moderated the relationship between stress and parenting satisfaction. Having a child with a developmental disability did not moderate the relationships between depression and parental self-efficacy, parenting satisfaction, social support, or stress. Having a child with a developmental disability moderated the relationships between social support and parental self-efficacy and parenting satisfaction, but not depression or stress. Future research should examine single and married parents of children with and without developmental disabilities, and compare foster and adopted children with biological children.

Share

COinS