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Examining the Relationship between Social Support, Parenting Stress, and Depression in South Korean Single Mothers

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationships among social support, parenting stress, and depression in single mothers with young children in South Korea. This study also explores whether parenting stress plays a mediating role in the relationship between social support and depression. Self-report questionnaires were administered to 202 South Korean mothers who were raising young children on their own because of divorce, separation, death, or having never married, and three research variables were measured: social support, parenting stress, and depression. Data were analyzed using PROCESS macro version 3.4 to examine whether parenting stress mediated the relationship between social support and depression in these single mothers. The results of this study showed close correlations among social support, parenting stress, and depression in single mothers, and that parental distress and parent-child dysfunctional interaction among the subfactors of parenting stress played a mediating role in the relationship between social support and depression. Because the results of this study indicate that providing social support for single mothers can reduce their depression, significant attention must be paid to implementing policies to reduce single mothers’ parenting stress for their psychological well-being and their children’s development.

Highlights

  • Social support, parenting stress, and depression were significantly correlated.

  • Parenting stress played a mediating role.

  • The importance of social support for single mothers should be highlighted.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Using Model 8 in PROCESS macro version 3.4 (Hayes, 2017), we tested demographic variables (i.e., single mother’s age, education level, and monthly income) as moderators. No significant moderating effects of these demographic variables were found in the mediation model.

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S.-M.S. designed and executed the study, and wrote the paper; B.P. conducted data analyses and wrote the paper; W.K.L. and N.-S.P. contributed to writing of the paper; M.N.K. collaborated with design and execution of the study.

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Correspondence to Bokyung Park.

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Song, SM., Park, B., Lee, W.K. et al. Examining the Relationship between Social Support, Parenting Stress, and Depression in South Korean Single Mothers. J Child Fam Stud (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02084-1

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Keywords

  • Single mothers
  • South Korean mothers
  • Social support
  • Parenting stress
  • Depression