The lived experience of being a sole mother in Taiwan

Hong, Rei-Mei (2011) The lived experience of being a sole mother in Taiwan. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Aim: To explore the lived experience of being a sole mother in Taiwan Background: The number of sole mothers in Taiwan has increased by 55 % in the last decade due to changes in the social and economic status of women (e.g. earlier divorce, the development of national policies for the protection of women, the rise of feminism, and changing work practices which have seen an increase in the number of women in the workforce) (Taiwan Department of Statistics, 2010). Issues confronting sole mothers as part of daily living involve inability to cope with daily life stressors, little social support, experiencing feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and lack of self-confidence to assume responsibility for the physical and mental health needs of themselves and their children (Cairney, 2007; Loxton, Mooney & Young, 2006; Samuels-Dennis, 2006; Waldron et al., 1996). Although there have been a number of studies conducted concerning what it means to be a sole mother, few Taiwanese studies have been undertaken. In light of the absence of research on this topic from a Taiwanese perspective, this study was undertaken. Design:A descriptive phenomenological approach was used for this study. Methods: In-depth audio-taped interviews were conducted with 15 sole Taiwanese mothers. The audiotapes were later transcribed, translated into English, and then back translated into Chinese to ensure accuracy of participants‘ information. Colaizzi‘s phenomenological approach to analysis with one additional step (eight steps in all) informed the analytical process. Findings: The process of analysis identified six central themes: 1. Enduring the burdensome, 2. Survival means living day-by-day, 3. Living in the shadows of insomnia, depression and suicidal thoughts, 4. Living with rejection and social isolation, 5. Living with uncertainty, and 6. Transcending difficult times through being resilient. Conclusion: For the participants of this study, the lived world of Taiwanese sole mothers was replete with daily difficulties marked by isolation, loneliness, social disapproval and rejection. Feelings of sadness and dejection were their daily companions. However, amid their myriad hardships, the participants found strength and solace in their children and close friends. Rather than succumb to the pressures of being a sole mother, the participants forged new paths spurred on by their own hopes and dreams for a better future. The findings of this study have the potential to make significant contributions to extant knowledge concerning the lived experiences of sole mothers in Taiwan.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 41840
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Welch, Anthony & Elder, Ruth
Keywords: Taiwanese mothers, sole mothers, lived experience, Taiwan, social support, mental health, self-confidence
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 May 2011 04:52
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 20:02

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