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Dispelling Myths and Creating Opportunity: A Comparison of the Strengths of Single-Parent and Two-Parent Families

Ford-Gilboe, Marilyn RN, PhD

Vulnerability and Empowerment: Part II

Although single-parent family life has become mainstream in many ways, knowledge about these families has been focused predominantly on the chronic problems they experience. This study describes the strengths of single-parent families, compares these strengths to those of two-parent families, and describes families' explanations of the effect of self-identified strengths on health. Although single-parent and two-parent families are different structurally, the nature and pattern of strengths are found to be more similar than different between these two groups. These findings challenge stereotypical views of single-parent families that emphasize problems and vulnerability and exclude a consideration of their strengths.

Associate Professor and NHRDP/MRC Career Scientist; School of Nursing; The University of Western Ontario; London, Ontario; Canada

This research was supported by grants from the National Health Research Development Program (NHRDP), Health Canada (No. 6606-5208-55), and Iota Omicron Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau. The author thanks Heather Laschinger, RN, PhD, and Helene Berman, RN, PhD, for providing editorial comments on this manuscript.

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