The following is an excerpt from a research essay I did on single mothers and self-efficacy…clearly a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I chose this particular subject because I seemed to encounter many single mothers who would ask me, “how are you able to do so much, when I can barely get out of bed…I’m so depressed”. At first my goal was pretty selfish…I wanted to see how was I doing it (*pats self on back).
But during the course of research and writing my focused changed.
I found out that it was largely do to my awesome support system (heart you family and friends!).
I also realized that I passively learned self-efficacy, especially from my grandmother, mother, sister and historic heroes (of which I have a healthy obsession with ;)).
Self-efficacy: the belief that one has the ability to actively shape their environment and exercise control over their lives.
So while I like to think that I am particularly gifted in single motherhood resiliency, turns out that much of it was inherited, demonstrated and bestowed upon me.
And now I aim to pass that resiliency to others.
Hope you find my literature review helpful and be sure to sign up for my emailed updates! =)
Albert Bandura, known for his social cognitive theory, states that self-efficacy is the belief that one has the ability to actively shape their environment and exercise control over their lives. High self-efficacy has been shown to improve mental disorders such as depression and anxiety (Atkins 2010, p.163) and has also been shown to be an effective way to improve health by promoting healthy behaviors (Bandura 2004, p. 143). Studies have demonstrated that single mothers are especially vulnerable to suffering higher than average national rates of mental disorders and poor health (Table. 1), and therefore are a group that would greatly benefit from improving their self-efficacy. In this review, single mothers are described as mothers who have at least one child under the age of 18 living at home and are not partnered or cohabitating. Depression and anxiety, the two mental disorders that single mothers are most likely to be diagnosed with, present a problem not only to the mother, but to their children as well. In a study done by Ali et al found that children whose mothers were depressed have more behavioral problems, have impaired relationships with their mother and are at higher risk for developing mental disorders themselves (2003). Because of the high prevalence rate and the wide-reaching devastating effects of poor mental and physical health in single mothers, improving their self-efficacy is a critical and effective way to improve on the aforementioned. What makes this particular literature review unique is that I am currently a single mother of four, which makes this subject matter of great importance. My single mother status also enables me the rare opportunity to see the literature through the lens of both a researcher and subject.
Download the complete literature review here.