A story published today by the London Free Press
focused on a new study which says that that single mothers cope as well with stress as
married moms even though they generally face more emotional and financial turmoil.
Prof. Bill Avison of London said his study of more than 1,000 women
debunks any idea that single mothers are "less competent and resilient" than
their married counterparts.
The $500,000 study, involving mothers and many of their children
over six years, was funded by Health Canada.
"Single mothers are indeed functioning very well as parents,
and tend to protect their kids against the stresses and strains of divorce," Avison
said yesterday from the University of Western Ontario, where he directs the Centre for
Health and Well-Being.
"This drives home the need to look at the socio-economic
circumstances and the social policy issues surrounding single parents, rather than
assuming there's something missing in their parenting capacity."
But the story points out that single parents still need support,
financially and emotionally. Laws need to make it easier for them to obtain financial
support from ex-partners, and workplaces are becoming more family-friendly, said Avison.
Previous studies have suggested single moms experience more
depression, and their children are at increased risk of emotional and other problems.
But Avison found most kids in single-mother homes were as
emotionally healthy as children in two-parent households.
This could be attributed to the fact that there's less stigma
attached to being a single parent, and to schools becoming more sensitive to the needs of
the changing family, said Avison, a professor of sociology and psychiatry.
"One of the most significant structural changes in North
American societies has been the increase in the number of families led by single
mothers," said Avison.