Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Single Motherhood Doesn't Seem to Hinder Happiness

Raising a child more likely to brighten these women's lives, study says

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SATURDAY, April 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Single mothers face many challenges but they tend to be happy, a new study suggests.

Researchers looked at women in Poland who gave birth while single. These women had to deal with numerous difficulties, including money problems, lack of partner support and social disapproval.

Even so, having a child did not lead to a decline in single women's happiness, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

"An arrival of a child either had no impact or even increases the happiness of the single mothers," study co-author Anna Baranowska-Rataj, of Umea University in Sweden, said in a university news release.

Challenges faced by single mothers might somehow strengthen the bonds with their children, the researchers suggested.

"Despite all of the difficulties and problems -- or maybe because of them -- the children are moved to the absolute center of the woman's universe and they are the brightest aspect of their lives," study co-author Monika Mynarska, of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Poland, said in the news release.

"Moreover, children often give women the power to make decisions they had not been able to make before pregnancy," she added.

For example, the researchers found that being responsible for a child's care helped many single women escape unhappy or harmful relationships, and made them tread more carefully when starting a new relationship.

So, becoming a mother might help single women move their lives onto a "better track," according to Mynarska.

"All in all, we found no evidence to support the assumption that the lives of women who became single mothers would have turned out better if they had not given birth and had not decided to raise on their own," study co-author Anna Matysiak, of the Wittgenstein Centre in Austria, said in the news release.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about single-parent families.

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