Does Aboriginal Identity Make a Difference? Single Mothers and Exclusion in Health




Single motherhood, Aboriginal identity, and receiving social assistance are negatively linked to health outcomes, and recognized as precursors to social exclusion. Drawing from a holistic perspective of health, this paper examines the relationships between health, social exclusion, and receiving social assistance in Saskatchewan Aboriginal (those living in off-reserve areas) and non-Aboriginal single mothers. This paper utilized data from a mail survey with a randomly selected sample which was conducted in Saskatchewan (Canada)

in the summer of 2007. The sample consisted of 372 single mother respondents: 157 Aboriginal mothers and 215 non-Aboriginal mothers. Multivariate analysis was used to examine the relationships of education, social supports and networks, and a personal sense of control (confidence or self-esteem) with self-rated health, taking into account sociodemographic characteristics. Qualitative (written knowledge) data provided the experience of single mother’s exclusion in health. Cross-sectional findings from this study presented an opportunity to consider upstream (social assistance policies that prioritize education), mid-stream (educate mothers to be peer supports), and downstream (offer life skills to build self-confidence) interventions for single mothers in Saskatchewan.

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