Single mother families : a participant observation study of human service agencies, organizations / by Melissa Reynolds.
SubjectSingle mothers - Services for
Fatherless families - Services for
Single parent families - Services for
Thunder Bay (Ontario)
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The purpose of this mixed methods study was to better understand single mother families by integrating both qualitative data describing the lived experiences and needs of single mother families, with quantitative data detailing the formal services/programs currently available to meet these needs of single mother families living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Qualitative analysis consisted of continual reflection and interpretation of day-to-day life experiences of 8 young single mother families through participant observations for a total of 180 hours of participant observation. In the quantitative approach, statistical analysis using SPSS 15.0 was completed on survey data from 30 human service agencies and organizations to learn about their extent of involvement with services/programs for single mother families in Thunder Bay. Analysis of the participant observation data revealed that the single mothers demonstrated resourcefulness, dignity, caution, astuteness, maturity, adaptability, coping, and tenacity in maintaining daily family living, along with hopefulness towards their futures. Additionally, the single mothers often relied on support from family and friends to maintain and provide for their families. The results of the statistical analysis revealed that only 33 percent of the agencies/organizations provided special services/programs for single mother families and 70 percent of these agencies/organization provided regular programs in which single mother families are eligible to participate. From the perspective of the experiences of the single mother families it was revealed that the needs of single mother families living in Thunder Bay are not sufficiently met by the services/programs available.