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The impact of separation on parenting confidence

Platt, Lucinda and Haux, Tina (2020) The impact of separation on parenting confidence. In: Kreyenfeld, Michaela and Trappe, Heike, eds. Families, Relationships and Societies“ on the topic of “Parental Life Courses after Separation and Divorce in Europe. Springer, pp. 149-168. (KAR id:72370)

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In the context of high rates of parental separation and divorce, there has been extensive scholarly interest in exploring the consequences of separation for both children and parents. However, little is currently known about whether separation impacts mothers’ sense of their own efficacy as parents. In this chapter, we investigate whether mothers’ confidence in their parenting drops following separation, and if so, whether it recovers over time. Arguing that reduced confidence in their competence as parents may stem from the challenges of sole parenting, we explore whether greater involvement of fathers in parenting after separation lessens the impact of the breakup on mothers’ confidence. Using the Millennium Cohort Study, a large, nationally representative study of children born in the UK in 2000-2001, we analyse the experiences of around 12,000 mothers who were living with their child’s father when the baby was around nine months old. By tracking these mothers until their child is around seven years old, we show that those who separate experience a reduction in their parenting confidence relative to those who did not separate, and that this gap persists. Counter to our expectations, we find that greater paternal involvement post-separation does not mitigate these effects. We discuss these findings in the context of theories of self-efficacy and the stigmatisation of lone mothers in society.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Tina Haux
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2019 09:28 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:02 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Haux, Tina:
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