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Amara Rieken

2009 Research

Abstract: Strategies of Single Motherhood

Mentor: Julia Smith, Ph.D., EWU Anthropology Department

Politicians and the media have stigmatized single mothers, blaming them for using welfare, for producing troubled children and for enabling the collapse of the family unit. Does this image of single mothers depict their real experiences or is it just an image created for political purposes? To answer this question I conducted fifteen semi-structured interviews with single mothers living in the Spokane, Washington, metropolitan area. The image of single motherhood they depicted was very different than the stereotype. For these women, providing a stable and loving home for their children was their priority. These women put into practice a set of strategies for being good single mothers without expecting or receiving help from the fathers of their children or other men in their lives. This preliminary study suggests that some specific policy changes would help single mothers to better provide stable family environments for their children.


18th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate School Fair

13th Annual EWU Student Research and Creative Works SymposiumMay 19, 2010

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