The effect of marital status on psychological distress among single and partnered mothers in Ghana: The moderating role of employment status

2017 IJRSP – Volume 6 Issue 2


Opoku Mensah, Abigail*
University of Cape Coast, Ghana (

Asamani, Lebbaeus
University of Cape Coast, Ghana (

Asumeng, Maxwell
University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana (


Literature indicated that generally, one-quarter to one-third of all families are headed by single mothers. In developing countries like Ghana, more than 25% of households are headed by single mothers. This phenomenon could be attributed to increased rate of divorce, desertion, death, and imprisonment. These mothers are confronted with many burdens. The study sought to find out how these burdens affect the level of psychological distress of mothers and whether single and partnered mothers differ on this variable. Some of the factors considered include employment status, family size, and educational level. Data was obtained using questionnaire and structured interview guide from 364 single mothers and 355 partnered mothers using purposive sampling, convenience and the snowball sampling. The design was descriptive survey. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for the analyses. There were significant differences between single and partnered mothers, as well as amongst those employed in the formal sector, those employed in the informal sector and the unemployed mothers on psychological distress. A significant negative relationship between the age of mothers and psychological distress was observed. These findings were discussed and intervention programmes recommended.

Keywords: psychological health; women; employment; gender



*Corresponding Author