Over 9.5 million American families are run by one woman. Single mothers are likely to have mental health issues, financial hardships, live in a low income area, and receive low levels of social support. All of these factors are taken into consideration when evaluating the mental health of single mothers. The occurrence of moderate to severe mental disability was more pronounced among single mothers at 28.7% compared to partnered mothers at 15.7%.These mental disabilities include but are not limited to anxiety and depression. Financial hardships also affect the mental health of single mothers. Women, ages 15–24, were more likely to live in a low socio-economic area, have one child, and not to have completed their senior year of high school. These women reported to be in the two lowest income areas, and their mental health was much poorer than those in higher income areas.
A similar study on the mental health of single mothers attempted to answer the question, "Are there differences in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders, between married, never-married, and separated/divorced mothers?" Statistically, never married, and separated/divorced mothers had the highest regularities of drug abuse, personality disorder and PTSD. The family structure can become a trigger for mental health issues in single mothers. They are especially at risk for having higher levels of depressive symptoms.
Studies from the 1970s showed that single mothers who are not financially stable are more likely to experience depression. In a more current study it was proven that financial strain was directly correlated with sky rocket levels of depression. Among low-income, single mothers, depressive symptoms may be as high as 60%.
Inadequate access to mental health care services is prevalent amongst impoverished women. Low-income women are less likely to receive mental health care for numerous reasons. Mental health services remain inequitable for low-income, more so, low-income single women are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other poor mental health outcomes. Researchers Copeland and Snyder (2011) addressed the barriers low-income single mothers have on receiving mental health care, "Visible barriers often include the lack of community resources, transportation, child care, convenient hours, and financial resources." Meanwhile, low-income single mothers are more likely to bring their children in for mental health treatment than themselves. Researchers Copeland and Snyder analyzed sixty-four African American mothers who brought their children in for mental health treatment. These mothers were than screened for mild, moderate, and severe depression and/or anxiety. After three months the researchers used an ethnographic interview to address whether or not the participants used mental health services that were referred to them. Results indicated that the majority of the participants did not use the referred mental health care services for reasons that included: fear of losing their children, being hospitalized and/or stigmatized by their community counterparts.
United States single parent family income distribution by sex of parent. Also shown is income distribution of married couple family groups. 28% of female parent single parent families have an income of at least $50,000 a year vs. 47% for male parent single parent families and 71% for married couple families. Data source US Census Table FG2, FG5
WIKIPEDIA : 14. Brown, George W.; Moran, Patricia M. (1997-01-01). "Single mothers, poverty and depression". Psychological Medicine. 27 (1): 21–33. doi:10.1017/s0033291796004060. ISSN 1469-8978. PMID 9122302.
15. ^ Afifi, Tracie O.; Cox, Brian J.; Enns, Murray W. (2006-02-09). "Mental health profiles among married, never-married, and separated/divorced mothers in a nationally representative sample". Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 41(2): 122–129. doi:10.1007/s00127-005-0005-3. ISSN 0933-7954. PMID 16467954.
16. ^ Jayakody, Rukmalie; Stauffer, Dawn (2000-01-01). "Mental Health Problems Among Single Mothers: Implications for Work and Welfare Reform". Journal of Social Issues. 56(4): 617–634. doi:10.1111/0022-4537.00188. ISSN 1540-4560.
17. ^ Jump up to: a b Belle, Deborah (1990-03-01). "Poverty and women's mental health". American Psychologist. 45 (3): 385–389. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.45.3.385. ISSN 1935-990X.
18. ^ Peden, Ann R.; Rayens, Mary Kay; Hall, Lynne A.; Grant, Elizabeth (2004-12-01). "Negative Thinking and the Mental Health of Low-Income Single Mothers". Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 36 (4): 337–344. doi:10.1111/j.1547-5069.2004.04061.x. ISSN 1547-5069. PMID 15636414.
20. ^ Copeland, Valire C. & Kimberly Snyder. 2011. “Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Services for Low-Income African American Women Whose Children Receive Behavioral Health Services: An Ethnographic Investigation.” Social Work in Public Health 26:1, 78–95
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