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Octomom may reveal she doesn’t like her kids: Could it be a symptom of single mom stress?

Oh, Octomom. You’ve been through so much--one minute you’re up and the next you’re down. This must be a down moment for Nadya Suleman, since she recently supposedly admitted to In Touch Weekly that she hates her babies. “They disgust me,” she reportedly told the magazine.

If true that’s sad news, but maybe not unexpected, considering some studies show that single mothers (even ones who don’t have 14 children, among them a set of octuplets) and their children may be stressed and suffer greater health and other consequences compared with their married counterparts. A study in the June issue of the American Sociological Review looked at the health of 40-year-old women who had had a premarital birth or whose first birth was while married.

Researchers looked at self-reported health information on about 4,000 women and found that having a baby outside of marriage was linked with worse health at 40 for white and black women compared with those who gave birth after being married. Hispanic women didn’t seem to be affected. For black women, getting married or living with someone didn’t improve their health, but for other women, only a lasting marriage to the child’s biological father was linked with better health, compared with those who remained single.

A study of 394 African American families with single mothers found that facing adversity in childhood, dealing with current economic pressures and internalizing problems were connected with having less-intense maternal warmth, decreased levels of child management and lower academic abilities for the children. But the 2010 study in the Journal of Family Psychology also noted that optimistic mothers internalized problems less and managed their children more effectively.

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Single parenthood may not be all doom and gloom. A 2004 study in the Journal of Educational Research found that single parenting might not result in bad academic performance or behavioral problems for children age 12 and 13. Researchers looked at data from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth and found that moms who had a positive attitude may be able to mitigate any adverse effects that stem from single parenting.


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