Date of Award

1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Lisbeth Pike

Abstract

Over the past 30 years divorce has been on the incline, resulting in more children living in one parent families, the majority headed by single mothers. The study of the impact of divorce and outcomes for children and their mothers has become increasingly important. According to many researchers, the study of self-concept is considered to be one of the best indicators of a person's psychological adjustment and wellbeing (Hattie, 1992; Ford, 1985). Studies have neglected to consider self-concept as a major focus and consider the relationship between the child's self-concept and their mother's self-concept. This study focuses on single mothers and their children aged between 8 and 12 years of age. Harter's (1985, 1986) Self-Perception Profile for Children (SPPC) and Adult Self-Perception Profile (ASPP) were used to investigate whether a relationship exists between mother's and child's self-concept. Positive relationships were expected between single mother's and their child's self-concept domains. Correlations amongst mothers-daughters self-concept domains were expected to be stronger than for mothers-sons. The results indicated that relationships exist between the mother's wellbeing and her child's wellbeing. Some specific domains of self-esteem were found to be of more importance than others. Variance in the child's global self-worth was accounted for by the adult domains most highly correlated with the child domains; Adult Morality, Adult Physical Appearance and Adult Global Self-Worth. From the positive responses given by both mothers and children the study highlights that Australian single mother families, in comparison to reports from other countries, are doing well and their children are developing positive self-regard.

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