Skip to main content

Synonyms

Father only families; Lone/single parent/caregiver families; Mother only families

Definition

Single parent families are comprised of a parent/caregiver and one or more dependent children without the presence and support of a spouse or adult partner who is sharing the responsibility of parenting.

Description

Overview

During the past several decades, the number of “traditional” two-parent families has decreased while the number of single parent families has increased. For example, while only about 11% of children lived in single parent families in 1970, census data from 2000 indicate that 28% of children lived in single parent families. More recently, however, these increases have leveled off with recent rates having declined from 29% in 1997 to a slightly lower rate of 27% in 2001.

Reasons cited for single parent composition in families have varied during different decades. Specifically, death of a spouse was the most commonly cited reason for single parent families in the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 949.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Hardcover Book
USD 549.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  1. Barrett, A. E., & Turner, R. J. (2005). Family structure and mental health: The mediating effects of socioeconomic status, family process, and social stress. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46, 156–169.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Bengston, V. L. (2001). Beyond the nuclear family: The increasing importance of multigenerational bonds. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Berger, L. M. (2004). Income, family structure, and child maltreatment risk. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 725–748.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Brown, R. T., Wiener, L., Kupst, M. J., Brennan, T., Behrman, R., Compas, B. E., et al. (2008). Single parents of children with chronic illness: An understudied phenomenon. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33, 408–421.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Cook, K., Davis, E., & Davies, B. (2008). Discrepancy between expected and actual child support payments: Predicting the health and health-related quality of life of children living in low-income, single-parent families. Child: Care, Health and Development, 34, 267–275.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Coontz, S. (2005). The evolution of matrimony: The changing social context of marriage. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 8, 30–33.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Ehrensaft, M. K., Cohen, P., Chen, H., & Berenson, K. (2007). Developmental transitions in youth behavioral opposition and maternal beliefs in social ecological context. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 16, 577–588.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Flurry, L. A. (2007). Children’s influence in family decision-making: Examining the impact of the changing American family. Journal of Business Research, 60, 322–330.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Ford-Gilboe, M. (2000). Dispelling myths and creating opportunity: A comparison of the strengths of single-parent and two-parent families. Advances in Nursing Science, 23, 41–58.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Greef, A., & Fillis, J. (2009). Resiliency in poor single-parent families. Families in Society, 90, 279–285.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Han, W., & Waldfogel, J. (2007). Parental work schedules, family process, and early adolescents’ risky behavior. Children and Youth Services Review, 29, 1249–1266.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hertz, R. (2006). Single by chance, mothers by choice. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  13. JRank.Org. (2009). Marriage and family encyclopedia: Single-parent families. Retrieved August 10, 2008, from http://family.jrank.org/pages/1581/Single-Parent-Families.html

  14. Kendig, S. M., & Bianchi, S. M. (2008). Single, cohabitating, and married mothers’ time with children. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 1228–1240.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Moriarty, P. H., & Wagner, L. D. (2004). Family rituals that provide meaning for single-parent families. Journal of Family Nursing, 10, 190–210.

    Google Scholar 

  16. United States Census Bureau News. (2007). Single-parent households showed little variation since 1994. Census Bureau Reports. Retrieved August 26, 2009, from: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households

  17. Wen, M. (2008). Family structure and children’s health and behavior. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 1492–1519.

    Google Scholar 

Other References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

About this entry

Cite this entry

Lindwall, J.J., Bailer, B.A., Daly, B.P. (2011). Single Parent Families. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2651

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_2651

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-77579-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-79061-9

  • eBook Packages: Behavioral Science

Publish with us

Policies and ethics