Single parenthood, occupational drift and psychological distress among immigrant women from the former soviet union in Israel

Varda Soskolne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: The study examined whether the combination of single parenthood and occupational drift in the context of immigration puts single mothers at higher risk for psychological distress compared to married mothers, and investigated the potential mediating and moderating psychosocial factors (social support, sense of coherence–SOC, fluency in Hebrew). Methods: Participants were selected from random samples of married and unmarried mothers, recent immigrants to Israel from the Former Soviet Union, aged 25–50 years. A total of 221 single mothers and 241 married mothers were interviewed. Results: No differences were found in occupational drift or in fluency in Hebrew between the groups. The levels of SOC and social support were significantly lower among the single mothers and mean scores of distress were significantly higher among single (1.48 □ 0.75) compared to married mothers (1.21 □ 0.65, p < 0.001). In multiple linear regressions on distress, no interaction of marital status and occupational drift was found. After inclusion of psychosocial variables, the association of marital status with distress was significantly mediated by SOC and more modestly by social support, and was moderated by social support: the beneficial effect of social support on distress was significantly greater for married mothers than for single mothers. Conclusions: The difference in psychological distress between single and married mothers during the first years after immigration is not due to occupational stressors but to psychosocial resources. Single parenthood should be viewed as a marker of psychosocial risk among immigrant women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-93
Number of pages19
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Immigration
  • Israel
  • Occupational drift
  • Psychological distress
  • Single motherhood
  • Social support


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