Global Problem of Single Mothers 

The significance of this study is to bring awareness and emotional regulations single mother’s face when obtaining a college degree, essential to their lives such as welfare, child care and social support while trying to raise a family.  The world we live in today, the economy has produced higher unemployment rates, and higher well fare rates (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011), that’s why obtaining a degree will help single mothers pursue a successful career in whatever they choose. Nearly one third (32%) of all single mothers live below the poverty line.

However, the condition is more acute for black single mothers (38%) of 3.1 million Black single mothers raise families below the poverty line, according to census data this study demonstrates a need for higher education among black women (Lewis, 2005).  As mothers with needs and available necessities, often there is an absence of job demands and low-income families which, makes it hard to meet certain demands. Lower-income mothers usually have jobs with unaltered work schedules or inflexible employers. Mothers who has these schedules and heavy workloads have been affiliated with increased ‘role strain’ among single mothers and low-income, African American mothers (DeBord, 2000).

Therefore, as single mother return to college to improve financial, academic, and social status of the family, encountering additional stress is fateful (DeBord, 2000). Need of Study This study is needed to show how situations like child care, welfare, financial stability, social support, intimate relationships, transportation, emotional regulations and time management can all play a specific factor in the stress levels and role conflicts of single mothers to matriculate through college. Childcare is an issue with trying to find a stable person to baby sit the child during the mother’s school hours. Financial stability can be an issue for some mother’s that do not have a job so they have to rely on welfare to help with trying to take of bills, school, and their children.

Relationships can be a stressor with trying to maintain an intimate relationship a significant other, while going to school and taking care of a child. Transportation is an issue when the mother does not reliable transportation or has to car hop to get back and forth from school, work, and day care if it applies to the child. Time management is a stressor when you have so much to do in a 24 hour day but, because of not having transportation and financial stability the things that may need to be done cannot accomplished because many things are limited.

By completing this study, it is possible to o figure out different ways to lower the stress levels and self-actualization for single mothers in college.  Purpose of study The purpose is to investigate the major issues such as welfare, childcare, and social support that hinder a single mother’s from achieving her degree. The research question is stress a major issue single mother’s face in obtaining a college degree.

Earlier studies found that (76%) of African American mothers finished high school but only (13%) went on to complete college  (Barhorst, 2009). Completing some college raised their earning another 20-25% and finishing college gave a 50% earnings advantage compared to attending some college without getting a degree (Barhorst, 2009). The stress they have can prevent them from graduating. Independent variable stress can weaken the mothers immune system when CRH, a hormone that makes one focused and ready to spring into action, is over secreted (Mitstifer, 2008).

Therefore, a single mother juggles many responsibilities and role expectations which rapidly causes a sickness creating an additional strain (Mitstifer, 2008). The mother’s stress is reflected in the children’s “loneliness, withdrawal, regression, and fear of loss of the remaining parent. Socially too they showed either aggression or withdrawal symptoms.  Research Question: What kinds of stressors are experienced by single mothers attempting to obtain a college degree.? Hypothesis: Single mothers has an higher degree of stressors than students without children. The purpose of this study was to investigate stress and its effect on single mothers who were seeking a college degree.

The Stress Survey Questionnaire will be used to measure the stress construct to determine if stress was a major predictor of the resistance to obtaining a college degree. My hypothesis accepted my null stating single mothers has an higher degree of stressors than mothers without children. Dependent Variable:  Though many students face challenges on the way to a college degree, low-income, single mothers face an especially horrifying journey (Nadine, 1994). They must juggle classes, coursework, childcare, work, and running a household alone – no easy to adjust to when single. As a result, many single mothers depend on a variety of supports and services when adding college to their already busy lives (Nadine ,1994).  However, single mothers are not the traditional students.

Majority of educators and decision-makers envisioned when creating their establishments and guidelines. Federal and state policies provide these supports but, it has to exhibited that (single mothers) are actively out trying to better themselves while getting these supports.  Laws and regulations that focus on providing parenting students with the supports they need to graduate can also help other disadvantaged students with similar barriers to higher education. But too often, these policies instead create more barriers (Nadine, 1994).

Single mothers often live from pay check to pay check trying to get by in a everyday living which, causes risk factors, which combine to create barriers that makes it even more difficult for any college student to overcome (Barhorst, 2009). Single-parent students are more likely than “traditional” students to need to support themselves and their families, have low incomes, work full-time, attend school part-time, need remedial coursework, survive domestic violence, and be the first in their families to attend college because the strive to complete a goal of determination. Meaning that no matter what deranged event happens nothing will get in the way of achieving a goal that will help their family long term.

These factors make balancing three main necessities—family care, employment, and education— unreliable, making it difficult to manage even small unexpected changes (Barhorst, 2009). Single mothers may “step out,” or take a break when finances or family issues occur, making it impossible to continue in their studies. For many, completing a degree can take anywhere from six to fifteen years (Sandra, 2003). This winding path to graduation is made more difficult by changing major requirements, unclear or insufficient academic advisement, or loss of financial aid. These factors result in perseverance and completion of graduating from college and actually helps graduation rates for students overall (Sandra, 2003).

The experiences of female college students who are raising children while pursuing higher education have received limited attention in the educational and psychological literature. College mothers has understandably focused on the negative consequences of their efforts to occupy multiple issues, conflicting social roles, the more positive involvement of multiple roles for these mothers have not been consistently explored and in the long run it can cause problems (Rico & Sabet & Clough, 2009). College mothers with a primarily essential orientation tend to have higher academic efficacy and greater self-regulation and resource authority as learners.

Mothers’ reasons for going to college and acquired motivation as a student contributed to the prediction of their children’s life and academic self-efficacy above and beyond the contributions made by them (Rico & Sabet & Clough, 2009).  Independent Variable: The Independent variable Stress is a variable that stands alone and is not changed by the other variables you are trying to measure; it is the cause in cause and effect.  This study focuses on stress levels that put strain on a single mother’s goal of achieving a degree. Many things contribute to stress when one is trying to strive for greatness (Mitstifer ,2008).

Stress among single mothers in college has a positive effect on their academic performance, and it motivates mothers to strive harder for a better life. Stress is the independent variable that will be examined and researched in this paper it is also being measured by the income of a single mother, the childcare that’s needed for the child/or children while the mother is at school or work, and the overall parenting that’s needed in the home ( Mitstifer, 2008). Research method: A quantitative analysis and inferential statistical method will be used for my hypothesis. I chose to use inferential statistics, because it is the statistical measure used for making inferences from findings based on sample observations to a larger population.

Quantitative research, like other research paradigms, has its own set of assumptions. Quantitative research defends positivism and believes in the benefit of speculative procedures (Angela, 2008). Quantitative researchers claim that science is rooted in unbiased confirmation but do not account for the non-representative nature of the researcher’s decisions made on all accounts the stages of the research process (Angela, 2008).  In addition, often the assumptions of positivistic quantitative inquiry are that what happens in one social environment being studied in this method can be generalized to future social situations (Angela, 2008).

Lastly, quantitative inquiry assumes that science is the superior way of knowing, understanding and predicting human experiences and that the positivistic scientific method rules must be held to or the researchers and their findings are disregarded (Angela, 2008).  Research Design-  Population:  The demographic instrument requested information regarding age, job status, classification, number of enrolled credits, and resident or commuter students.  Additionally, the instrument asked other questions to find out information the level and the kind of stressed experienced while enrolled in college.

A total of 50 females participated in this study.  Each of the females should be within the traditional college student age range, 18-24.  Sampling:  This sample will come from a population of college students from Indiana University of South Bend, Ivy Tech Community College, Saint Mary’s College and Bethel College. A random sample will be selected that would represent the population of this sample. I will select the respondents by flipping a coin, if it lands on heads I will select every other 5th female student to participate in this study, if it lands on tales every 6th female student will be chosen.

Twenty-five female college students will be chosen on the selected college campuses. The interviewer will select the female students from the student centers involved, because that’s where majority of the students socialize. The sample will consist of Fifty female students between the ages of 18 and 24. I predict that at least twenty-five students will be used in this research. Procedures: After permission is received from the four colleges involved institutional review board, the subjects will be given a questionnaire on campus.

The subjects will be read the consent form which will state; that the interviewer is a student at Northcentral University conducting a study on single mothers in college and if stress has any effect on their academic performance. The dean of each school will be informed that they must be 18 or older to take this survey, also that their identities will not be revealed at any time and at any time during the survey if they feel uncomfortable about the survey they have the right to discontinue it.

Measures:  If they agree to participate in the study, they will be asked a maximum of 28 questions pertaining to their stress levels at hand. In this study of stress, and single mothers in college the limitations were that there were not many studies to choose from. The name of the survey is called, “Stress Survey Questionnaire”, which is a survey that has been used already in another research. Even though there were studies done on stress, single mothers, and college women there were not many studies connecting them together.  The Likert scale will be used in this research. A scale of questionnaires including categories such as “strongly agree”, “a“disagree” will be the options. I’m using a quantitative method for this study by using a survey. Single mothers attending college between the ages 18-24 will be offered the survey.

Ethical Protection of participants: Ethical consideration are the subjects that should not be harmed in any way (physically or mentally) in the name of science.  If an experiment involves any risk to subjects, they should be completely informed concerning the nature of the risk and the permission for participation in the experiment should be acquired in writing from the subjects themselves, or from persons legally responsible for the subjects if they are not of age (Ouyang, 1996). If school children are involved, it is a good idea to inform parents before the study is conducted if possible.

Subject’s privacy should be strictly confidential.  Individual scores should never be reported, or made public.  Ethical principle in the conduct of research with human participants is the most definitive source of ethical guidelines for researcher.  It is prepared and published by the American Psychological Association (APA) (Ouyang, 1996).  With respect and concern for the dignity and welfare of the people, who participate and with knowledge of federal and state regulations and professional standards governing the conduct of research with human participants.

That is to respect and concern for the dignity and welfare of the people who is an participate (Ouyang, 1996).  When reporting the results, be sure that it is accurately represented with what has observed or what was told. Do not take interview responses out of context and do not discuss small parts of observations without putting them into the appropriate context. Many types of research, such as surveys or observations, should be conducted under the assumption that will keep the findings anonymous (Driscoll, 2012).  Anything that would cause physical or emotional harm to subjects, this could be something as simple as being careful how you word sensitive or difficult questions during an interview. Many interviews, however, are not done under the condition of anonymity (Driscoll,2012).

Subjects should not know whether the research results will be anonymous or not. (Driscoll,2012).  Validity:  Weaknesses of quantitative research are many kinds of information are difficult to obtain through structured data collection instruments, particularly on sensitive topics such as domestic violence or income (Newman, 2008). Many groups such as sex workers, drug users, illegal immigrants, squatters and ethnic minorities are always difficult to reach, but the problems are often greater for quantitative data collection methods.

There is often no information on contextual factors to help understand the results or to explain variations in behavior between households with similar economic and demographic characteristics. Research methods are inflexible because the instruments cannot be modified once the study begins. Studies are expensive and time-consuming, and even the preliminary results are usually not available for a long period of time (Newman, 2008).

Given this limited understanding of the on-campus experiences of single mothers it is equally critical to consider positive experiences. Some such positive experiences which warrant additional research is looking at experiences of fit within the institution, as well as experiences of mattering. To gain a clearer understanding of the multiple factors that are at play in a single mother‘s pursuit of an undergraduate degree, this study considered both the individual psychological factors that influence college attendance as well as the multiple sociological and societal impacts that take part in shaping these women‘s experiences.


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