Aspects of social support associated with adaptation in middle-class, single-mother families: a mixed-methods approach

Widan, Rio Justine (2017-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: In the fast-changing societies around the world, the incidence of single-mother families continues to grow at a steady rate. The demanding and stressful nature of single-motherhood is well documented. Family resilience, however, refers to a family’s ability to withstand and overcome adversity, emerging strengthened and better resourced to face challenges and hardships in the future. Much research has affirmed the therapeutic and buffering effects of social support. Thus, this cross-sectional, mixed-methods study aims to identify aspects of social support that are associated with adaptation in a sample of single mothers. Situated within the realm of positive psychology (Antonovsky, 1996), this study is theoretically founded upon two models of family resilience, specifically the Family Resilience Framework (Walsh, 2012) and the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation (McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996). This study is further based on the various components, dynamics and types of social support (House, 1981). A total of 47 participants were recruited from the Cape Town surrounds of the Western Cape who were middle-class, single mothers with at least one dependent child residing in the household under the age of 18 years. The first 12 participants were interviewed and completed a series of questionnaires, while the remaining 35 participants only completed questionnaires. Qualitative data were analysed through the method of thematic analysis and quantitative data were analysed through Pearson product-moment correlations, best-subset multiple regression analyses and analyses of variance. Qualitative analyses indicated two main sources of support, namely paid and unpaid supports. Paid supports consisted of household helps, schools and mental health practitioners. Unpaid supports comprised family, friends, community and recreation. Emergent themes included age of the child/children, as well as a new taxi service, Uber. Quantitative analyses revealed the following factors to be statistically significantly correlated with family resilience: harnessing family and friend support during times of strain; having friends as a support; socialising with friends; receiving emotional support from friends; receiving practical help from friends; receiving advice from friends; obtaining financial aid from friends. The regression analysis indicated that socialising with friends, harnessing relative and friend support during times of strain and length of time as a single mother best predicted family adaptation. Significant differences were also observed between the family and friends groups for socialising and obtaining financial aid as a support. The findings from this study hold value and can be used to inform future lines of research, as well as assist in the development and implementation of prevention and intervention strategies targeting middle-class, single-mother families living in South Africa.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: In die snelveranderende wêreld neem die voorkoms van enkelmoedergesinne konstant toe. Daar is reeds baie geskryf oor die veeleisendheid en spanning waarmee enkelmoederskap gepaardgaan. Gesinsveerkragtigheid verwys egter na ’n gesin se vermoë om teenspoed die hoof te bied en te bowe te kom, en om sterker anderkant uit te kom, beter toegerus om toekomstige uitdagings en ontberinge te hanteer. Heelwat navorsing bevestig die terapeutiese en bufferuitwerking van sosiale ondersteuning. Hierdie dwarssnit gemengde-metode-ondersoek beoog dus om met behulp van ’n steekproef van enkelmoeders die aspekte van sosiale steun te bepaal wat met gesinsaanpassing verband hou. Die navorsing, wat in die domein van positiewe sielkunde (Antonovsky, 1996) tuishoort, is teoreties gegrond op twee teorieë van gesinsveerkragtigheid, naamlik die gesinsveerkragtigheidsraamwerk (Walsh, 2012) en die veerkragtigheidsmodel van gesinspanning, -verstelling en -aanpassing (McCubbin & McCubbin, 1996). Die studie berus voorts op die verskillende soorte sosiale steun, sowel as die komponente en dinamiek daarvan (House, 1981). Altesaam 47 deelnemers is in die WesKaapprovinsie in Kaapstad en omgewing gewerf. Al die deelnemers is middelklasenkelmoeders met ten minste een afhanklike kind onder die ouderdom van 18 jaar in die huishouding. Die eerste 12 deelnemers het aan onderhoude deelgeneem en ’n aantal vraelyste voltooi, terwyl die oorblywende 35 slegs vraelyste voltooi het. Kwalitatiewe data is met behulp van tematiese ontleding ontleed terwyl die kwantitatiewe data ontleed is met behulp van Pearson se produk-momentkorrelasies, beste-deelversameling- meervoudige regressieontleding en variansie-ontledings. Die kwalitatiewe ontledings het twee hoofbronne van ondersteuning na vore gebring, naamlik besoldigde en nie-besoldigde steun. Besoldigde steun sluit in huishulpe, skole en geestesgesondheidspraktisyns. Nie-besoldigde steun bestaan uit familie, vriende, die gemeenskap en ontspanning. In die kwantitatiewe ontledings is statisties beduidende korrelasies gevind tussen gesinsaanpassing en die volgende faktore: die benutting van familie en vriende se steun in moeilike tye, om vriende as ondersteuning te hê, sosialisering met vriende, emosionele ondersteuning van vriende, praktiese hulp van vriende, en raad van vriende. Sosialisering met vriende, benutting ondersteuning van familie en vriende tydens moeilike tye, en tydsduur as ʼn enkelmoeder is gesamentlik, op grond van die regressieontleding, as bydraend tot gesinsaanpassing, gevind. Merkbare verskille is ook waargeneem tussen die familie- en vriendegroepe met betrekking tot sosialisering en die verkryging van finansiële bystand as ’n vorm van ondersteuning. Die navorsingsbevindinge is nuttig en bruikbaar om toekomstige navorsing te rig, sowel as om voorkoming- en intervensiestrategieë te ontwikkel vir middelklas-enkelmoedergesinne in Suid-Afrika.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100922
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