Resilience and Happiness of Single Parents


Being a parent is usually considered as a job, an irreplaceable and genuine job; however, it sometimes requires a great deal of dedication and effort in order to properly raise children and to fulfill their needs. Parenthood, as stated by Umberson, Pudrovska, and Reczek (2010), is a transformative and influential process; therefore, being a parent is not just a mere task that one can accomplish overnight. It is a challenging experience that sometimes can cause enervation and stress. In line with this, according to an article written by Glover (2018), being a parent, especially in the present time is becoming harder than ever for the reason that there are several new challenges that parents may face or are currently facing.

Despite of that, parenthood is an important experience that plays a crucial role in enhancing the development of a child in many aspects, which is why parents aim to manifest positive parental traits and to utilize good parenting skills.

Firmly associated with parenting, abilities play a major role in raising a child.

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Wong (2018) enumerated 12 skills that good parents possess, most of which focus on the child’s positive behavior, teaching them to view challenges positively, helping them develop social skills, opting for guidance over control, providing a sense of security, developing the child’s resilience and perseverance, and management of one’s own stress. Parents do not live only for themselves. Depending on the number of children, they are also held accountable for the lives of their children as well. In a web article by Garvin and Margolis (2015), they discussed the role of an adviser stating that “while you provide oversight and guidance, your ultimate goal is to empower the seeker to act independently.

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” This statement and the skills mentioned above allude to an affinity for positivity. A parent, before offering aid for the growth of their children, must learn to implement the qualities they want to instill as a precursor to becoming a role model for the young.

In a child’s life, a lack of parental control is linked to unconventional family arrangements due to separation, migration, and remarriage. (Siagian, Arifiani, Amanda, & Kusumaningrum, 2019). Often for two people, the task of parenting becomes tedious when a duo becomes only one. Miguel (2018) defined a solo parent as any individual who shoulders the sole responsibility of caring for a child or children. As stated by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are more than 17 million solo parents in the country (Pelayo, 2018). More specifically, from the same government office, the PSA (2015) recorded 12,660 single parents within the province of Cavite that live with their children in the household.

To enumerate the qualifications of these said individuals, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (n.d.) defines them based on RA 8972 as, (1) a woman who, as a result of rape, gives birth provided that she raises the child; (2) parent left with the responsibility of childcare due to death, detention, physical or mental incapacity of a spouse, legal separation from said spouse, annulment or nullification of marriage; (3) an unmarried state between partners; (4) any sole provider of parental care and; (5) any succeeding family head ascribed to the abandonment, death, or prolonged absence of the parents. Entrusted with a wide range of responsibilities, these individuals face a great amount of adversity and distress.

It was stated that single parents have lower levels of happiness and life fulfillment than those who have a partner (Aassve et al., 2012; Nelson et al., 2013;). The adversities of single parenthood are identified as financial instability, little or no time for themselves, struggle in raising a child or being the only “disciplinarian”, and difficulty in welcoming new relationships (Better Health Channel, 2018). Along with personal and familial problems, work-related stress proves to be a hindrance as well.  There are at least two notable reasons that employment is considerably more insufficient for single parents than for other workers: gendered inequality and increasingly precarious employment conditions. The former refers to the subsequent gender wage gap that includes occupational partition, differences in working conditions, penalties for mothers, and fatherhood discrimination, putting mothers at a disadvantage (Duncan & Edwards, 1997; Goldin, 2014; Gornick, 2004; Halldén et al., 2016; Härkönen et al., 2016b; Maldonado 2018). A few research studies have even demonstrated that the generally revealed the negative impact of parenthood on prosperity is actually limited to single parents (Angeles, 2010).

The adversities mentioned above are what single parents experience, causing them to feel despondent. Being unhappy has a great impact on people, especially on their well-being which is why it is essential to have a positive outlook on living. Single parents, being unhappy, may affect the way they approach caring for their children as well as their perspectives about life. With that, this study incorporates positive psychology to help them look at life in a positive light amidst challenges. Positive Psychology is a developing branch of psychology which enhances positive and versatile human attributes (Snyder and Lopez, 2009). It is concerned with examining positive aspects of life including accomplishments, commitments, meaning, and relationships. This study aspires to determine the correlation between happiness and resilience among single parents to be able to accentuate that even though they experience a lot of hardships, they are made aware of how to bounce back and still manage to find happiness in life.

Literature Review

Single Parenthood

Single parenting is not an easy process to execute since it means being alone in taking care of all the responsibilities in a household. Single parents are those individuals who play a dual role in a family; as a father and as a mother. As discussed in the study of Stephen and Udisi (2016), single parenthood is not new in society as it has always been existing even before; however, its meaning is complicated as it changed and varied across time (Nieuwenhuis & Maldonado, 2018). Single parenthood can either be single mothers or single fathers that handle the whole family by themselves. According to the study of Maldonado (2017), single parents mostly experience insufficiency in terms of resources that make it arduous for them to provide for their household which complicates their lives. With this kind of adversity, their strength as the steady figure in the household is being tested that is why being resilient is an important character trait in order to circulate toughness as well as to maintain the ideal state inside the household. The study recognizes two variables in opposition to these obstructive attributes; namely, resilience and happiness.


As per the American Psychological Association (2014), Resilience is the way toward adaptability notwithstanding difficulty, injury, disaster, dangers, or even critical wellsprings of stress. Resilience theory covers a variety of aspects that talk about the effect of testing occasions on people and families and how well they have adjusted to adversities. Research encompassing strength is driven by these inquiries: (1) What is the distinction for kids whose lives are undermined by drawbacks or affliction? (2) How could it be that a few kids effectively conquered serious life difficulties and grow up to lead an able and composed life? The responses to these inquiries would give significant procedures for actualizing the impacts of affliction on kid advancement and prosperity (Masten, 2011).

Resilience as a theoretical construct was acquainted with scientific research during the 1980s. Hypothetical foundations for understanding resilience emerged from longitudinal examinations on personality qualities in adolescents (Gąsior, Chodkiewicz, and Cechowski, 2016). Resilience is denied in two regards: (1) as a personality property, a generally steady disposition, which determines flexibility to changing life necessities ( Grzankowska and Ślesińska-Sowińska, 2016) and (2) as a process of versatile ability to beat negative life occasions (Piórowska et al., 2017). Resilience is moderately steady and develops for an incredible duration.

An increased level of well-being results from numerous variables including surviving negative encounters and creating resilience (Wong, 2010). Everly (2009) theorized that a person's capacity to have low or high resilience might be identified with either being happy or remorseful. To nurture resilience one must, most likely, manage stress successfully in light of the fact that affliction will undoubtedly occur sooner or later in each individual's life. Being resilient advances wellbeing and happiness. To promote resilience one must make inward strength by utilizing activities, convictions, and principles. Activities incorporate social help, using sound judgment, taking responsibility, carrying on with a healthy lifestyle, and beliefs that incorporate being idealistic and having confidence.


Happiness is firmly identified with subjective well-being (Diener, 2011) and infers that individuals think and feel that their lives are going well (Lucas and Diener, 2009). For most people, being happy is the main objective throughout everyday life (Bojuwoye and Sylvester, 2012). Happiness is significant on the grounds that it has been observationally found to prompt positive personal, conduct, physical, mental and social outcomes (Diener and Chan, 2011). Thus, happiness is not just a significant objective in itself yet additionally a significant impact upon other significant life domains (Diener and Ryan, 2009). In light of its results, happiness at that point proposes emotional prosperity for people as well as cultural speculation (Diener et al., 2009).

More recent studies, assessed by happiness and life-satisfaction surveys, convey long-term trends in subjective well-being and welfare reform conjecture to the increase of happiness of single mothers over the last few decades (Ifcher 2011; Ifcher and Zarghamee 2011; Herbst 2012). Although this is the case, it is worth noting that single parents have greater tendencies to experience chronic stress than married ones (Cairney et al. 2003 cited by Stack & Meredith, 2018). Within a study about single mothers conducted by Booth (2013), it was stated that compared to major negative events, Lyubomirsky (2013) was cited in discussing that minor negative events faced by women in their daily lives do not induce the same effective coping skills applied to the former. This gives support to the statement mentioned that along with the constant emotional, physical, and psychological support provided to children, enjoyment in every moment of mothering is scarce rather than prevailing. Even though this is the case, peak-end theory, as explained by Kahneman in the mid-1990s, is the representation of experiences by its peak level of pain or pleasure (Holt, 2011). Booth (2013), who is previously mentioned, utilized the said theory in investigating mothers, describing that while they do not find pleasure in folding laundry or dealing with temper tantrums, peak moments included in the experience of parenting like graduation, or a child’s first employment may aid in viewing childcare as meaningful and rewarding.

In particular, researchers found that while measuring people’s feelings during and remembering life events, the detailed moment-to-moment evaluations do not encapsulate the retrospective evaluations of the said events; rather, peak and end moments determine how experiences are remembered (Diener, Wirtz, & Oishi, 2001; Fredrickson & Kahneman, 1993; Kahneman, Fredrickson, Schreiber, & Redelmeier, 1993; Redelmeier & Kahneman, 1996; Wirtz, Kruger, Scollon, & Diener, 2003; Mogilner & Norton, 2018). Related to the supporting statement for the theory above, Theobald and Cooper (2012) stated that the ‘scarcity’ of happiness seems to be a factor for desiring it; not being happy all the time leads to having the tendency to cherish the memory of it. Coupled with how peak and end moments elucidate the process of retaining memories, the preference for happiness, in this case, becomes valuable to single parents in maintaining a positive view towards raising their children. This positive view is included in mental well-being as it is experienced by mentally-well people having the capacity to enhance healthy relationships with others, possesses emotional literacy, manage disputes without manipulation, experience joy, able to cope, and be resilient; (Rahman, Ansari, & Parveen, 2016) all are factors that can aid in parenthood.

Gaps in Literature

As attested by various researches including Cheeseman (2010) in her research about the resilience of single mothers, albeit qualitative methods are significant in distinguishing potential instruments and procedures, these findings are most dominant when connected with quantitative methods to affirm their interceding impacts to empower support for the proposed hypothesis. To this end, these findings could be utilized as a foundation to research the resilience and happiness of the proposed components and their intervening impacts with regards to single parenthood. Moreover, the field remains limited in conceptualizing and measuring the change in single parents as referenced in a research study about promoting strength and resilience in single-mother families. Most researchers stay concentrated on evaluating psychopathology, for example, anxiety, and depression (Taylor, 2017). In any case, low levels of anxiety and depression do not really compare with "wellbeing." In addition, other measures are likely expected to precisely assess the mental wellbeing and prosperity of single parents. Furthermore, recent studies about resilience focus more on people with post-traumatic stress disorder (Southwick, et al., 2014). Hence, there has been relatively little research that investigated the connection between single parenthood and resilience. As a result, the researchers proposed resilience and happiness among single parents.


This study focuses on single parents and is designed to know the relationship between resilience and happiness among single parents. This study also desires to recognize the extent of happiness and resilience of the single parents; therefore, in order to do that, the researchers formulated two hypotheses: (1) Ho: There is no significant correlation between happiness and resilience among single parents and (2) Ha: There is a significant correlation between happiness and resilience among single parents. Through these hypotheses, the researchers will be able to identify if there is a correlation between the two variables.

Theoretical Framework

The researchers utilized two theories, namely Resilience Theory and Peak-end Theory, that will enable them to properly attain the data and to meet the objectives of the study. First and foremost, the Resilience Theory which is basically about the resiliency of individuals⁠—how they adapt to difficulties and how they overcome their struggles. With the help of this theory, the way single parents bounce back despite several challenges on their way will be discerned. Secondly, which is also the last theory, the Peak-end theory pertains to how people remember as well as attribute their experiences based on how they feel in a particular situation and how they interpret a specific event. Considering that emotions and feelings are able to embed in an individual’s perception, through this theory, the perspective-taking of single parents will be recognized, retaining a vital role in initiating happiness.

Updated: May 19, 2021

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Resilience and Happiness of Single Parents. (2020, Oct 11). Retrieved from

Resilience and Happiness of Single Parents essay
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