The mental health and parenting practices of recently separated parents
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis investigated the mental health and parenting practices of a sample of recently separated parents. Study 1 recruited 112 recently separated mothers and fathers, who completed a web-based survey. Results showed that these parents are at higher risk of numerous mental health issues, and were more depressed than the general population. Males experienced more suicidal ideation than females did. As time since separation increased, so wellbeing decreased. Important predictors of poor mental health post-separation were discussed. Recently separated parents did not report more negative or less positive parenting than the general population, but did report lower levels of parenting self-efficacy. Several relationships between predictor and parenting variables are described. Cross-sectional relationships between mental health and parenting variables are also discussed. Study 2 was conducted five months later and 79% (88) of the parents from Study 1 completed the web based survey for Study 2. Results showed an increase in wellbeing over time for both males and females. Suicidal ideation decreased over time and this relationship was more pronounced for males than it was for females. Predictors of poor mental health at Time 2 were discussed. The parents‟ parenting self-efficacy increased over time. There were no other changes or sex differences found in parenting practices, but sex differences in parenting circumstances are discussed. This thesis enhances New Zealand research by providing an in-depth analysis of the mental health and parenting practices of recently separated parents. These findings contribute to our understanding of the circumstances that New Zealand separated parents experience, and the effects that these circumstances can have on the parents.