Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Smart, Laura S.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Human and Family Resources


Decision making; Unmarried mothers--Psychology


The primary purpose of this descriptive study was to determine factors which might be associated with the decision of contemporary women to become single mothers by choice. The sanple consisted of 102 single, childless wcmen, age 28 and over, who were located through the membership of the Illinois Federation of Business and Professional Wcmen. They were surveyed concerning education and income, attitudes concerning singlehood, friendships and social support, dating patterns, reasons for remaining single, family of origin values, desire for children, and opinions about the decision to beccme a single mother by choice. Although a majority of respondents indicated a desire for children, most did not feel that having children was integral to full life satisfaction. Furthermore, the older the wcmen were, the less they wanted children. Financially secure wcmen were not more likely to consider becoming single mothers by choice than were other wcmen. A quarter of the respondents thought that they would or might beccme single mothers by choice within the next five years. Approximately half had considered single motherhood at seme point in their lives. The respondents who might become single mothers by choice were found to be conventional in terms of family backgrounds and values, relationship with their fathers, and desire to marry. They were different frcm respondents who had not considered single motherhood in that they currently dated less frequently and had notably more negative feelings about men. Results were discussed in relation to previous research. Implications of the study were discussed and ideas for future research were suggested.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 107-112)


vii, 139 pages




Northern Illinois University

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