Chronic stress appears to be one factor related to an increased risk of child maltreatment in homes led by single mothers. Gottleib suggested this is because life stress is associated both with decreased coping strategies and with increased levels of child behaviour problems. Single mothers, in particular, experience a high number of interrelated stressful life situations related to increased risk for abuse and neglect, such as poverty, everyday life stressors, depression, partner abuse, low self-esteem, insecure adult attachment style, low cognitive skills, violence, childhood sexual abuse, and poor social relationships.
CECW archives material
CECW Information Sheet #16E. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto, Faculty of Social Work.