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Single Mothers by Choice: Parenting and Child Adjustment in Middle Childhood

Golombok, S; Zadeh, S; Freeman, T; Lysons, J; Foley, S; (2020) Single Mothers by Choice: Parenting and Child Adjustment in Middle Childhood. Journal of Family Psychology 10.1037/fam0000797. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Findings are presented of the second phase of a longitudinal study of families created by single mothers by choice. Forty-four single heterosexual mothers were compared with 37 partnered heterosexual mothers, all with a donor-conceived child aged around 8–10 years. Standardized interview, observational, and questionnaire measures of maternal wellbeing, mother-child relationships and child adjustment were administered to mothers, children, and teachers. There were no differences in maternal mental health, the quality of mother-child relationships or children’s emotional and behavioral problems between family types. However, higher levels of parenting stress and higher levels of children’s prior adjustment difficulties were each associated with children’s adjustment difficulties in middle childhood irrespective of family type. The findings suggest that the presence of two parents—or of a male parent—is not essential for children to flourish, and add to the growing body of evidence that family structure is less influential in children’s adjustment than the quality of family relationships.

Type: Article
Title: Single Mothers by Choice: Parenting and Child Adjustment in Middle Childhood
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/fam0000797
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000797
Language: English
Additional information: This article has been published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the American Psychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.
Keywords: solo mothers, single mothers by choice, parenting, child adjustment
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110535
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