|Abstract or Summary
- The primary purpose of this research was to examine the effects of
informal social support on the psychological sense of well-being of single-parent
mothers who are enrolled in a rural Oregon community college. A
secondary purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of selected
demographic indices upon the mothers' well-being.
A 32-item questionnaire was mailed to a randomly selected population
of 1,000 female spring term enrollees at Linn-Benton Community College,
resulting in an 82 percent rate of response and 781 usable surveys, including
76 (10 percent) from single-mother students. Characteristically 35 to 39
years of age, Caucasian, and maintaining her own household on a gross
monthly income of $1,000 or less, the single-mother student worked part-time,
had been a single-parent for more than two years, raised one child,
and was enrolled for six or fewer credits during the spring term.
Analyses of variance among demographic indices and well-being measures
indicated that single-mother students employed part-time scored lowest
on Total Well-Being, Problems and Isolation. There was a significant
effect on Problems from those enrolled in a degree program for seven or
more credits and receiving financial aid. Simple linear and multiple stepwise
regressions between components of Support and Well-Being, showed
that: (1) Total Support had an effect upon Problems, Loneliness, Happiness,
and Total Well-Being; (2) Personal Conversations influenced or affected
all measures of Well-Being; (3) Relatives influenced Isolation, Loneliness,
Happiness, and Total Well-Being; (4) Friendship affected Problems,
Loneliness, Happiness, and Total Well-Being; and (5) Neighbors influenced
Stepwise multiple regressions indicated that (1) Total Well-Being was
affected by Conversations and to a lesser extent by Relatives and Friends;
(2) Problems and Loneliness were influenced by Friends; (3) Isolation was
affected by Relatives, and (4) Happiness was influenced by Conversations
and to a lesser degree by Relatives.
Recommendations for further research and implications for educational
and family professionals working with single-mother students are discussed.