To provide a preliminary report of data from 2 support groups for single mothers, all of whom were mothers of children attending a child outpatient psychiatric clinic. The groups' 2 purposes were: 1. to assess the feasibility of adding structured evaluation to a common clinical intervention; 2. to improve single mothers' parenting skills through raised levels of self-esteem, increased capacity for family functioning and reduced levels of depression.
Three structured evaluation instruments were used to measure the domains of self-esteem, family functioning and depression. These instruments were given to both groups of women on 3 occasions: 1. before the group; 2. after the group; 3. at a follow-up session 4 months after group termination. Open-ended questions were also asked at group termination.
The questionnaire response rate was 100%; overall response rate for the 3 open-ended questions was 89%. Comparisons of pre-group and post-group scores showed that there was a significant increase in self-esteem (p < 0.01) and significant improvements in family functioning (p < 0.05) and depression (p < 0.01).
It is possible to introduce a structured evaluation component into a common clinical intervention, and this support group seemed to assist single mothers' parenting skills. Methodologic concerns and future directions are discussed.