The Relationship between Stigma and Self Esteem among Single Mothers in Kiambu County, Kenya
Kimani, Esther Nyandia
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Single parent family structure is on a high global increase, with statistics showing high prevalence of single mothers than single fathers. Recent studies focusing on family structures, have paid attention to single mother family type, its strengths and challenges. Stigma has been ranked as a key challenge facing single mothers. Studies on stigmatized populations for example people with Mental illness and those with physical disabilities show that stigma has a correlation with the individual‟s self esteem. However there is a general absence of literature showing the relationship between stigma and the self esteem levels among single mothers. The purpose of this study was to establish the relationship between stigma and self esteem levels among single mothers in Kiambu County and their ways of coping with the challenge of stigma. Social Identity Theory was utilized. The study adopted Correlational research design to test the hypothesis that stigma is significantly related to self esteem among single mothers. The target population was single mothers who have separated from their spouses and those who have never been married. Purposive, stratified, snowball and simple random sampling techniques were used to obtain a sample of 132 single mothers in Kiambu County, Kenya. Stigma level was assessed using a Stigma Scale adapted from William‟s (1997) Everyday Disrimination Scale (EDS) while self esteem levels were assessed using a Self Esteem Scale adapted from Rosenberg Self Esteem Scale (RSES). A researcher-generated coping strategies scale was utilized to measure the way of coping adopted by respondents. Qualitative data was gathered through Focus group Discussions (FGDs). The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 23 was utilized in the analysis of quantitative data; Data was subjected to descriptive analysis using percentages, frequencies and mean scores. Inferential statistical analysis using Pearson‟s Correlation Coefficient (r) test was utilized to determine strength and direction of the relationship existing between these two variables. Textual thematic analysis was done for qualitative data from FGDs. The study established high levels of stigma against single mothers (Mean=46.12) and low levels of self esteem (Mean 24.27) among them. The study revealed a low negative correlation between stigma levels and self esteem levels r(129) = -0.389, p<0.05. The study established that majority of the respondents utilized positive strategies of coping. Study findings showed a significant low negative correlation between stigma and self esteem levels among single mothers in Kiambu County. Moreover this study established that single mothers in Kiambu county adopt positive coping strategies as they parent. Based on study findings the study recommended that since there is an established significant negative correlation between stigma and self esteem among single mothers, for functional parenting, counselors need to come up with increased psycho educational programs which will engage single mothers in order to boost their self esteem levels.