The Experience of Being a Divorced or Separated Single Mother: A phenomenological Study
AuthorMutisya, Sabina K.
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This qualitative study utilized the phenomenological psychological approach to describe and understand the experience of being a divorced or separated single mother. The participants in this study were five African American, five Caucasian, and five Latino divorced and separated single mothers. Their ages ranged from 27-52 years, and each had at least one biological dependent child. The findings show that being a mother was of utmost importance, and children were central in the lives of these women. Relocating or moving after divorce or separation was found to be necessary for closure and mental health while adjusting to the new lifestyle after divorce or separation. Family life after divorce or separation was characterized by quality time, less stress, and more freedom and control for the mothers. They had no regrets about leaving a marital relationship that did not work for them, but they had become aware of their need for preparation before marriage. Unlike the Caucasian and the Latino participants, the African American women were more accepted by their own community; but they also had more child responsibilities because the fathers of their children were the least involved in the lives of their children. In their responses towards the prevailing economic situation, the Caucasian participants were future oriented, the African American participants were oriented to the present, and the Latino participants were oriented to the past. This study showed the importance for mental health clients to be allowed to talk about their cultural and religious values in order to address existing conflicts such as being divorced, which is contrary to the cultural and religious values of marriage and the preservation of the family unit.