Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Maria Dempsey & Lucy Rowell
PSI Annual conference
Identity Development of Irish Mothers Parenting Alone
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

This study explored identity development of mothers parenting alone in Ireland at a time when there was a growing number of lone parent families. Concurrently there was a pathologisation in both research arenas and public discourse of this family structure. This Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) study  incorporated Family Life Space Diagrams and comprised individual interviews with five women.   Four superordinate themes emerged; ‘reconstruction of self’, ‘relational identity development’, ‘impact of social factors on identity’ and ‘personal definitions of lone motherhood’. These themes were explored within the context of transition theories of motherhood and Herman’s (2001) theory of the dialogical self. The importance of female support networks was shown across all participants. With the absence of a partner, lone mothers depend on their social network. The promotion of parenting groups for lone mothers would strengthen these support networks. Opening up discourse on the issue of parenting alone in Ireland may support a reduction in negative stereotyping.