Lone Parenthood Project - Themes and results

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In order to study the multiple facets of lone parenthood, emphasis was placed on various aspects of these families throughout the study. 

1. The multiple pathways of lone parenthood: diversity of pathways and latent vulnerability

The growing complexity of family forms affects an increasing number of people experiencing lone parenthood at some point in their personal trajectory. Over the past three decades, their profiles have indeed become more diverse. 

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2. Strong labour market participation contrasts with stereotypical images of the lone parent as a social assistance beneficiary

Over-represented in social assistance statistics, lone parents are often stigmatized, portrayed as abusers of social assistance and reluctant to work because they raise their children alone. However, research findings suggest the opposite: whether in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe, lone mothers are more likely to be active and to work long hours compared to mothers living in couples. 

Read more about the strong labour market participation that contrasts with the stereotypical images of the lone parent as a welfare beneficiary

3. The maladjustment of social policies to the lone parent situation

Through a qualitative analysis of the stories of study participants, our research illustrates how social policies can contribute to the vulnerability of lone parents as stressors, with impacts in several areas of their lives and over time (Larenza, 2019). The study also demonstrates that parents' ability to respond to stressors can be guided by their relationships with significant others in their lives.

Read more about the maladjustment of social policies to the situation of lone parenthood

4. The health of lone parents and their children

Lone parenthood continues to be associated with multiple disadvantages: poverty and fragmented employment trajectories are combined to poor health. Differences in the health status of lone mothers have been attributed to both their higher levels of psychosocial and financial stress, as they are more likely to work in low-paying jobs and as they need to take care of their children alone. However, and in contrast to other studies, our research has shown that, in the case of Switzerland, lone mothers with post-obligatory education and working full-time have a higher level of well-being. 

Read more about the health of lone parents and their children.