Committee Chair

Bernard, Hinsdale

Committee Member

Robinson, Cheryl; McAllister, Deborah; Roblyer, M. D.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The U.S. Census Bureau (2012) estimated that there were 15.2 million female householders with no husband present. Many single mothers experience a high level of stress due to feelings of isolation and alienation from friends and family and having to deal with social, economic, and personal issues alone. This study evaluated the impact of participation in a social network site (SNS) on the stress levels of single mothers for the purpose of using updated resources to replicate and expand upon the initial work of Dunham et al. (1998). This study sought to answer the following research questions: Does participation in an SNS decrease mothers’ stress levels? Does increasing participation time in an SNS have a positive impact on the mothers’ stress levels? Do participants report decreased levels of social isolation as a result of participation in a SNS? 4) What themes are reflected in the content analysis of the blog posts in the SNS? A total of 30 single mothers were selected to participate in this study through the use of snowball sampling (Berg, 2007). Participants were volunteers who were recruited through local organizations in the Chattanooga area. This study utilized a one-group, pre-post design and mixed-methods data collection and supported the findings from the original study. A t test was used to compare the pre-post test results for Research Questions 1 and 3. Bivariate correlation was used to analyze Research Question 2. Qualitative data were collected with Research Question 4 through the use of participants’ responses to three blog questions. Participants were able to access the SNS for a period of 21 days. This study supported the original findings that mothers were most likely to report a decreased level of stress through the use of SNSs. However, there was no relationship between the time the mothers devoted to the SNS and a change in their stress levels. The isolation subscale showed a major difference in the participants feeling socially isolated on all items. A content analysis of the weekly blog questions showed that the participants provided and received encouragement, while over half said money was a huge stressor.


I would like to express sincere gratitude to my mother, Eva Jones, and my best friend, Charise Bailey. Thank you so much for always supporting me, encouraging me, and believing in me. I am so blessed to have you both in my life! My deepest thanks and appreciation to Dr. Peggy Roblyer and Dr. Hinsdale Bernard for your time, support, and contributions throughout this journey. You both have been committed, understanding, and amazing to work with. To say “thank you” for your knowledge and guidance just isn’t enough, but thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything! I also want to thank my other committee members, Dr. Cheryl Robinson, and Dr. Deborah McAlister, for your time and help to make my research better. I truly appreciate you! To the single mothers who participated in this study, I could not have done this without you. Please continue to hold your heads up, stay strong, and be encouraged. The struggle is real!


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Single mothers; Social networks; Women -- Social conditions -- 21st century; Interpersonal communication


parenting stress ; single mothers; social networking site; lone parenting; SNS

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xii, 98 leaves