The most incisive guide to issues facing the American family today . . . An invaluable resource for anyone wishing to stay on the cutting edge of research on family trends.

-W. Bradford Wilcox
Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Virginia 

Employed, Alone, and Stressed Out

Bryce J. Christensen and Robert W. Patterson

Those pushing to move single mothers into employment have argued that a job will give these women social and psychological stability. But a study from researchers at the University of Saskatchewan raises doubts about that line of thinking. Whether employed or not, mothers apparently need a husband.

The authors carefully examine data collected from 674 employed mothers—236 of whom were single and 438 of whom were “partnered” (apparently “married” is now a suspect category among politically correct Canadian researchers), though it is safe to assume that almost all of the “partnered” mothers in this study were, in fact, married. When the researchers compare the “partnered” mothers with the single mothers, the contrast is sharp, but hardly surprising: “Single mothers reported higher levels of psychological distress, financial hardship, work-family conflict and poor psychosocial work quality.” Further analysis indicates that these are all statistically significant differences (p<.05 for financial hardship and psychological distress; p<.05 for one measure of work-family conflict and p<.05 for two other measures of work-family conflict; p<.01 for one of the two measures of psychosocial work quality).

The authors seem to think that employed single mothers can surmount their problems by “drawing extensively on the support of their community and extended family ties.” But marriage would appear to be the most obvious solution.

(Ewelina Dziak, Bonnie L. Janzen, and Nazeem Muhajarine, “Inequalities in the Psychological Well-Being of Employed, Single and Partnered Mothers: The Role of Psychosocial Work Quality and Work-Family Conflict,” International Journal for Equity in Health 9.6, February 22, 2010).