School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Rachel L. Piferi


Single Parenting, Black Single Mothers, Resilience, Grit, Black Boys, Parenting Success




The ongoing struggles and challenges of the Black experience and the consequences thereof have been widely studied. One of the many challenges that have faced by this population is the growing epidemic of single parenting. The fractured nature of the Black family has been researched, showing the implications of absentee fathers and the raising of children by black single mothers, especially those raising boys. Using the social constructs of resiliency and grit, this study provided insight into how Black single mothers used resilience and grit to turn their parenting into a story of hope. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted where the lived experiences of 10 Black single mothers were examined. Sixteen themes emerged from the dataset which included: (a) single parenting as a Black mother is challenging and difficult, (b) the determination for positive outcomes, (c) the power of vulnerability: asking for help, (d) dual role of the church, (e) importance of perseverance, (f) keeping busy, (g) the use of existing systems, (h) the use of creativity, (i) overcoming adversities and moving forward, (j) tough love, (k) forgiveness and redemption, (l) independence and goal accomplishment, (m) mentorship/linkages (n) importance of education, (o) defying stereotypes and (p) changing their story for the next generation The analysis of these two social constructs provided vital information to future single parents, educators, and community members in making what could be a dismal and bleak future of Black boys being raised by Black single mothers into a more optimistic narrative.

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Psychology Commons