Being A Single Mother May Be Bad For Your Health — Even After You Remarry
Everyone knows that being a single mother is a lot of work, but now a study by Livescience shows that being the sole everything to your children may impact your health. The 30-year study followed thousands of single mothers, determining that as the moms got into middle age, they encountered more health problems than their married counterparts. Stress and financial strain are “speculated” to be the culprits, but the report did not determine what exactly the factors were. Interestingly, single mothers who later went on to marry showed no health improvement.
Getting married later on did not tend to ameliorate the single mother’s poor health unless she married the biological father, remained married to him, and was white or Hispanic. There was no beneficial effect of later marriage for black mothers, the researchers said.
If stress and finances are at the heart of declining health in single moms, it appears that getting a husband didn’t exactly provide an extra set of hands.
In addition to that tidbit, a 2009 study revealed that staying in a bad relation or marriage can also be detrimental to health. Women who were in “higher conflict” with their romantic partners showed increased risks of high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
When considering how this information may impact today’s moms, the researchers note that much has changed for women with regards to income and family support. The women who participated in the 30-year study were observed to be at an economic disadvantage. But since 40% of newborns are now born to single mothers, the researchers expressed concern for how single motherhood may impact the health of so many contemporary moms.
Kristi Williams, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University and researcher, said that the findings should encourage policymakers to consider helping single mothers with childcare assistance, job training, and health insurance to ensure good health.