Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Geoffrey Nelson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study examined the relationships between single mothers, income and health, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The purpose of the study was to determine the effects that certain risk factors (low income, stress, public housing, financial stress, education, home satisfaction, single parenting) and protective factors (neighbourhood satisfaction, social support, program participation, community integration) had on both the physical and mental health of single mothers. In the quantitative component, statistical analyses (a series of two-way mixed ANOVA’s and linear regressions) were conducted on interview data from 276 mothers who were involved in the Better Beginnings, Better Futures project in Highfield-Etobicoke, Ontario. The qualitative component followed up the quantitative results by discussing the results of the statistical findings during a focus group with seven single mothers who were also involved with this project site. The results of the statistical analyses and talking with the single mothers indicate that single mothers experience high levels of stress relative to married mothers. This stress which stems from low income and other risk factors leads to poor health outcomes, although the presence of protective factors, for example, social support, often buffers the effects of the risk factors.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season