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A community based study of unmarried & married mothers


THIS study examined a group of 50 unmarried mothers, living in an urban underprivileged area in Ireland, under the headings of: demographic details, background factors, material and social supports, the prevalence of psychiatric disturbance, and how they perceived their babies. The findings were then compared with those of a control group of 53 married mothers from the same community.

Difficulties encountered by both groups were very high levels of unemployment, financial difficulties and a high prevalence of psychiatric morbidity. There was also a high incidence of single pregnancies in the families of both groups. Significant differences between the unmarried and married groups of mothers lay in the areas of: inadequate accommodation, desire to conceive at the time of conception and paternal interest in the pregnancy.

The group of single mothers living alone emerged as a particularly vulnerable group, specifically in the areas of finances, social contact and psychiatric disturbance.

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McDonnell, K., Fitzgerald, M. & Kinsella, T. A community based study of unmarried & married mothers. I.J.M.S. 157, 79 (1988).

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  • Single Mother
  • General Health Questionnaire
  • Psychiatric Morbidity
  • Family Planning Method
  • Married Mother