Skip to main content

Single parent mothers and mental health care service use


Background This paper examines the use of mental health care services by single mothers and married mothers in Canada. Method We employ a secondary data analysis of the 1994–95 National Population Health Survey. Results Single mothers are significantly more likely to have seen a professional regarding their mental health in the previous 12 months and to use such services more frequently than married mothers. Multivariate analyses show that higher use among single mothers is independent of depression and sociodemographic factors. Further analysis revealed that single mothers have a higher rate of contact with professionals than married mothers and that the relationship between single parent status and frequency of contact is moderated by depression. Conclusion Single mothers are more likely to seek professional help for mental health issues. While qualifying for a diagnosis has some important conditional effects on the frequency of use among single mothers, neither major depression nor controlling for sociodemographic factors accounts for their higher use of services.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Additional information

Accepted: 20 December 2001

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cairney, J., Wade, T. Single parent mothers and mental health care service use. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 37, 236–242 (2002).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

  • Key words single mothers – depression – mental health care utilization