A quarter of families with dependent children are now headed by lone parents, usually a mother. Lone mothers have worse mental and physical health than mothers in a relationship and than the rest of the population. However, it is unclear whether this is due to the financial hardships and lack of social support experienced by single mothers or whether there is something inherent in single parenthood that causes mental-health problems. A study of 8,580 people in Fife found that lone mothers were twice as likely to have a mental-health problem as other women but that once financial problems and social support were taken into account the difference disappeared. However, lone fathers were nearly four times more likely to have a mental-health problem than other men and this risk remained undiminished by controlling for age, income, debt and levels of social support.
Cooper, C. ... [et al] - Depression and common mental disorders in lone parents: results of the 2000 National Psychiatric Morbidity Survey Psychological Medicine March 2008, 38(3), 335-342