COPING MECHANISM ADOPTED BY WIDOWS AND SINGLE PARENT IN THE CHILD UPBRINGING

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Abstract

Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize stressful events. Two general coping strategies have been distinguished: problem-solving strategies are efforts to do something active to alleviate stressful circumstances, whereas emotion-focused coping strategies involve efforts to regulate the emotional consequences of stressful or potentially stressful events. Research indicates that people use both types of strategies to combat most stressful events (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980). The predominance of one type of strategy over another is determined, in part, by personal style (e.g., some people cope more actively than others) and also by the type of stressful event; for example, people typically employ problem-focused coping to deal with potential controllable problems such as work-related problems and family-related problems, whereas stressors perceived as less controllable, such as certain kinds of physical health problems, prompt more emotion-focused coping.

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background of the study

Parents experiencing stress often adapt coping strategies in handling stressful situations. ¬†Single parenthood involves a sole parent who cares for children without the help of the other parent (Ward, 2001). A single parent family is, thus, a nuclear family where one or more children are nurtured by either a father or a mother. Such a family is often referred to as father/mother headed family (Igba, 2006). In such situation, the remaining parent not only inherits the responsibilities of the missing parent, but also takes custody of their children, in addition to his/her own roles as father or mother (Sanchez, 2007; Ezeigbo, 2001). The goal of single-parent family is that of raising a child who feels positively attached to his care-giver and is free from undue anxiety to play and learn (Berger, 1987). There could also be a situation where a woman, for instance, decides to have and nurture a child on her own, while remaining unmarried or single. Single parenthood could result from the death of a spouse or divorce. There are also other instances when single parenthood occurs involuntarily as a result of rape. There are many causes of single parenthood in both developed and developing countries of the world. Other causes of single parenthood include: death of a parent, wars and violent crises, rape and sexual harassment (International Displaced Monitoring Center, 2008; Preventive and Social Medicine, 2005). Hilderbrand, (1997), reported that about 25 percent of all parents are single parent- families in the United States of America. Most of these families (84 percent) were headed by mothers, while about 16 percent are headed by fathers. A health report on the United States divorce rate also show that approximately 40-50 percent of all teenagers are living with single parents (Ward, 2001; Sanchez, 2009; Hunt, 2009). Lazarus & Folkman (1984) in Judge (1998) defined coping as ‚Äúconstantly changing cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person.‚ÄĚ Thus, coping involves efforts and strategies aimed to manage stress, regardless of how it works. Coping strategies involve efforts to face the stressful situations. Walsh (2003) in Fielder, Simpson & Clark (2007) indicated that stress may be manifested biologically (fatigue, exhaustion, cardiovascular strain, reduced immune response, headaches, gastrointestinal upset, decreased appetite, and vulnerability to illness), psychologically (cognitive and emotional effects such as shock, terror, irritability, anger, guilt, grief, helplessness, impaired concentration, confusion, decreased self ‚Äď esteem, ad decreased self ‚Äď efficacy) and socially (the disruption of a social unit such as a family). Shin & Nhan, (2009) in a study of parents in Vietnam, posited that the presence of a child with cognitive delay is a predictor of stress among parents. Although there may be other concerns such as lower education, health issues, poverty and reduced social support, the parents consider having a child with cognitive delay as a major source of stress. In fact, lack of economic resources strain the mothers in raising their children, and a father in ill health threatens the financial status of the family when the latter are the main source of income. Similarly, mothers with less education have been found to have fewer strategies in raising children with cognitive delay. The study placed a significant importance on the health of fathers as they are often considered the main source of income. While the Shin & Nhan (2009) study recognized the presence of a child with cognitive delay as a major cause of stress, Phelps, McCammon, Wuensch & Golden (2009) emphasized theCoping strategies are the actual responses to crisis on livelihood systems in the face of unwelcome situations, and are considered as short-term responses (Berkes & Jolly 2001). Adaptive strategies are the strategies in which a region or a sector responds to changes in their livelihood through either autonomous or planned adaptation. Coping mechanisms may develop into adaptive strategies through times (Berkes & Jolly 2001). Adaptation studies have often emphasized measures to reduce sensitivity by, for example, changing to forms of agriculture that are less climate sensitive, thus reducing the need for coping (Siri et al ,2005) One of the most common methods for identifying food insecure households or regions is to look at the frequency and types of coping strategies as they are used to offset threats to a household‚Äôs food and economic resources in times of hardship (Corbett, 1988). Studies in developing countries documented that households employ a range of coping strategies during sustained food insecurity and hunger. For instance, the most important seasonal strategies include choice of cropping patterns to spread risks involving mixed cropping, cultivation of secondary crops, particularly root crops, off-farm income earning , selling productive assets, constricting food intake, and migration (Richard, 2009; Arun 2006); use of common property resources; changes in consumption patterns; share-rearing of livestock; and mutual support networks (Tony 2009). There is increasing demand for vulnerability and response assessments in view of identifying the susceptibility of populations to food insecurity

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

In recent years the word change has become synonymous with our day to day living, ranging from change in policy, government, income and climate. Adaptability to these changes has become a major problem to widows and single parents, as the price of goods and services has skyrocket. All this changes entails that widows and single parent has to decide and adopt a strategy or strategies that he or she will adopt in tackling this change. Ascertaining which of the strategy to adopt has become a major problem in ascertaining which mechanism will be adopted by this single parent and widows in their child upbringing.

  • OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to ascertain the coping mechanism adopted by widows and single parent in the child upbringing in Osun state. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective;

  1. To ascertain the importance of coping mechanism adopted by single parent in child upbringing
  2. To evaluate the efficiency of coping mechanism adopted by widows in child upbringing in Osun state
  • To ascertain how coping mechanism has helped in income generation and adaptation to the changes in the society
  1. To evaluate the effect of coping mechanism adopted by the single parent on the psychological well-being of the child
    • RESEARCH QUESTION

For the successful completion of the study, the following research question were formulated by the researcher

  1. What is the importance of coping mechanism adopted by single parent?
  2. How efficient is the coping strategy adopted by widows in Osun state?
  • How does coping mechanism adopted by single parent help in income generation?
    • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is conceived that at the completion of these studies, the finding will be of importance to widows and single parents in Osun state, as the study seek to exposed the widows and single parent on the importance of adopting an effective coping strategies so as to meet-up with the constant changes in the society, it is also perceived that the study will also add to the pool of knowledge, and will also be of benefit to academia, teachers, students and the general public in Osun state and beyond.

Finally, it will be of great value to students as a point of reference and will equally form the basis for further research study.

  • SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study covers coping mechanism adopted by widows and single parent in the child upbringing, but in the cause of the studies there were some factors which militate against the scope of the study;

  • DEFINITION OF TERMS

Coping

Coping means to invest own conscious effort, to solve personal and interpersonal problems, in order to try to master, minimize or tolerate stress and conflict. The psychological coping mechanisms are commonly termed coping strategies or coping skills. The term coping generally refers to adaptive (constructive) coping strategies. That is strategies which reduce stress. In contrast, other coping strategies may be coined as maladaptive, if they increase stress. Maladaptive coping is therefore also described, when looking at the outcome, as non-coping. Furthermore, the term coping generally refers to reactive coping, i.e. the coping response which follows the stressor. This differs from proactive coping, in which a coping response aims to neutralize a future stressor. Subconscious or non-conscious strategies (e.g. defense mechanisms) are generally excluded from the area of coping

Widow

A¬†widow¬†is a woman whose spouse has died, while a widower is a man in that situation. The state of having lost one’s spouse to death is termed widowhood.

Single parent

A single parent is a parent that parents alone without the other parents support etc. A mother is more often the primary caregiver in a single-parent family structure that has arisen due to death of the partner, intentional artificial insemination, divorce or unplanned pregnancy

 

 

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.  Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

 



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COPING MECHANISM ADOPTED BY WIDOWS AND SINGLE PARENT IN THE CHILD UPBRINGING

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