Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Relationship between the Belief System and Emotional Well-Being of Single Mothers

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

Relationship between the Belief System and Emotional Well-Being of Single Mothers

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

A single mother's emotional well-being is essential when facing numerous current issues and challenges. Task-overload, work related stress, poor social life, and arguments with ex-spouses are examples of problems faced by lone parents or single mothers (Kelly & Voydanoff, 1985; Richards, 1989; Richards & Schmiege, 1993). In addition, single or lone parents have multiple roles, and so face different pressures compared to other types of households, such as limited human resources, less emotional support, less assistance with household tasks and child care, less time available for social activities, and reduced participation in community life (Smith, 1980). As Kendig and Bianchi (2008) assert, single mothers experience a time deficit as a consequence of competing demands that limit the time they have available to care for their respective children.

In relation to statistical data of single mothers, Le and Miller (2013) reported that as of June 2005 the number of lone parent families with young children had increased to 463,000 in Australia, comprising 21 per cent of all families with young children (ABS, 2011). Meanwhile, the number of single mothers also increased to 32 per cent in the United States (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2009). The number of single mothers is also increasing in the middle east, particularly in Iran, mainly due to the demise of a spouse (Khosravan, Salehi, Ahmadi, & Mansoorian, 2013). In fact, more than 80 per cent of Iranian female-headed households are run by single mothers whose husbands have died (Khosravan, Salehi, Ahmadi, & Mansoorian, 2013).

Becoming a single mother is stressful as these mothers have a high responsibility towards their children, with the stress experienced affecting their psychosocial and physical health, quality of life and economic standing (Hanson, Kaakinen, & Gedaly-Duff, 2005; Wilcox, Evenson, & Aragaki, 2003). Without a partner, it is difficult for single mothers to provide the time and attention that children receive in two-parent homes (Kendig & Bianchi, 2008). Single mothers also cite difficulties with child-rearing and report childcare as a major stressor of daily living (Wijnberg & Reding, 1999). In addition, about 44 per cent of single mothers smoked daily as a result of facing more stress due to economic situation, occupation and family issues, compared to mothers with spouses (Sperlich, Maina, & Noeres, 2013). As the number of single-mother increases, it is vital to better understand the parenting process unique to single mothers (Murry, Bynum, Brody, Willert, & Stephens, 2001).

Single mothers who are able to cope with their problems will have a high emotional well-being. A theoretical approach that is often associated with the emotional consequences of individuals is the Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT), introduced by Albert Ellis in the mid 1950s. The ABC Model introduced in the REBT approach greatly helps an individual in understanding the causes of emotional disturbances (Ellis, 2002; Dryden, 1995). Ellis (2002) asserted that positive consequences of emotion and behaviours are often associated with beliefs. If a person's assessment on a negative event is rigid, absolutistic and dysfunctional, the emotional and behavioural consequences are likely to be defeating and destructive (Ellis, 2002; Dryden & Neenan, 2004). Alternatively, if a person's evaluative assessment about the event is preferential, flexible and constructive, the emotional and behavioural consequence (C) is likely to be self-helping and constructive (Ellis, 2002).

1.1 ABC Model

The ABC model, which is the main component in the REBT approach has been explained in great detail, particularly how emotional disturbance or stress experienced by individuals is due to their irrational belief system, rather than the negative events they experienced (Ellis, 1962; Ellis & Bernard, 1983; Ellis & Dryden, 1999). …

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