Single-parent family strength: a phenomenological study;
The purpose of the study was to explore the lived experience of strength within female-headed, single-parent families with school-aged children 2 or more years following separation or divorce. There is little research describing the healthy functioning of female-headed families. For the most part, the analysis of single-parent family functioning has been understood as a deviation from the norm because the norm has been determined by studying the conventional nuclear family experience. The divorce crisis may stimulate family growth and development in ways that are not available in the two-parent family system. Knowledge of the strength of the single-parent family system falls short. A phenomenological research design was used to explore the strength within single-parent families through in-depth conversational interviews with 4 mothers and their 8 children. Purposive and snowballing approaches were used to recruit participants for the study. The essential criteria for participating in the study were that the mothers and children must experience the phenomenon of strength and then be able to articulate and reflect on the experience. Each transcript of the mothers' and children's oral description of strength was analyzed using a phenomenological method. Nine essential themes were inducted from the data, and a fundamental structure of strength was developed. The experience of inner strength for the women in the study was gained by (a) introspecting to discover self; (b) emoting to develop an understanding of their real selves; (c) knowing, which grew out of their embeddedness in human relationships; (d) finding freedom to create their own destiny, as well as to shape their children's destiny; (e) gaining resilience in order to adjust, change, and overcome adversity; and (f) transcending the ordinary limits of ordinary experience and understanding. The women's strength sustained the family and is reflected in the following themes: (a) cocreating family harmony, (b) sharing family power, and (c) humane connecting. The research findings have implications for nursing practice, theory development, and research. In order to provide thoughtful, sensitive care to single-parent families, nurses must understand the strength of single-parent families so they can help them to assert control over conditions that affect their lives.
University of Utah;
Single Parent; Family;
University of Utah;
Relation-Is Version Of
Digital reproduction of “Single-parent family strength: a phenomenological study”. Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. Print version of “Single-parent family strength: a phenomenological study” available at J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collection. HQ5.5 1994 .A54.