Stress, Roles and Responsibilities of Single Mothers in Malaysia
1 Women’s Research and Development Centre/School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
2 Women’s Research and Development Centre/School of Communication, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
3 Women’s Research and Development Centre, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
Life as a single mother is often associated with great demands and many challenges. This study examines how a group of single mothers in Malaysia views sources of stress and challenges in their lives. It also investigates perceived roles and responsibilities of single mothers. Three hundred single mothers from all over Malaysia were interviewed in this study. Single mothers reported relatively low level of stress that was mostly related to financial (insufficient pay) and day-to-day living. They had fairly low stress on issues related to romantic partner and romantic relationships. They however reported extensive roles and responsibilities. Single mothers reported feeling responsible across various domains of life including for their own health and well-being and also for the health and wellbeing of their family and friends. They reported high level of coping and particularly oriented towards solving the problems. They also reported general satisfaction over life. Correlation analysis indicated significant positive relationships between roles and responsibilities and life satisfaction and coping in which coping was associated with higher level of roles and responsibilities and life satisfaction. There was also a negative correlation between stress and life satisfaction in which more stress was associated with lower life satisfaction. Findings indicated a substantial nurturing role of single mothers and provided important policy and practice implications that highlights the important to study and continuously improve quality of life for these women. Finally, this study highlights the important to continuously study and support, important but marginalized groups in society such as single mothers.
Key words: Stress / roles / single mothers / Malaysia
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2015
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