Public attitudes toward single mothers' social responsibility

Uda Munroe Bradford, Fordham University


In order to assess public attitudes toward single mothers' social responsibility one year after the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, a sample of 288 individuals from a population of adults in New York City, Long Island, and Rochester, New York, was surveyed to examine their attitudes toward three options that affect poor female-headed families receiving Temporary assistance to Needy Families. A total of 180 respondents was included in the analyses based on their response completion rates. The study's model assumed that public attitudes toward social responsibility were a function of maternal conditions, respondents' demographic characteristics, and media influences. The researcher assessed participants' attitudes toward the following maternal conditions: (a) a mother who was a full-time student, (b) a mother who attended school and worked part time, and (c) a mother who was a full-time homemaker. Respondents' attitudes toward each maternal condition were compared to examine the main hypothesis that respondents would have more favorable attitudes toward a mother who placed her children in day care while she worked and/or went to school than toward a mother who stayed at home full time to care for her children. Maternal conditions in which a mother is a full time student or studies and works in addition to being a parent accounted for the largest proportion of variance in attitudes, while only income and ethnicity contributed significantly beyond both maternal conditions. The study confirmed that respondents had positive attitudes toward maternal conditions in which poor single mothers include education or education and work in order to prepare for future employment.

Subject Area

Social work|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Womens studies|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Bradford, Uda Munroe, "Public attitudes toward single mothers' social responsibility" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9911437.