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The experience of women who are single parents Reid, Laurie M.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to understand how single mothers construct the experience of parenting alone. This research takes the perspective that the ways in which women identify with their role as single parents and the experiences they have throughout this process are continuously constructed and reconstructed in their life stories. Open-ended interviews with seven long-term, custodial single mothers currently attending university were conducted. These interviews were analyzed in detail for narrative structure based on Gergen and Gergen's (1986) narrative macrostructure framework, and Mathieson and Barrie's (1998) coding scheme for locating and describing the narrative. Two narrative types were identified. These are the progressive narrative with a crucial turning point and the progressive narrative with negatively and positively evaluated stages. These narrative types provide a useful way of understanding the diversity of factors that contribute to the well-being of single parent university students, and how these women construct and reconstruct coherent stories of this experience over time.

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