Editors: Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado

Authors are listed in order of appearance in text. Author/Editor details at time of book publication.

Available Open Access under CC-BY-NC licence. This book presents evidence from over 40 countries that shows how single parents face a triple bind of inadequate resources, employment and policies, which in combination further complicate their lives.

This book - multi-disciplinary and comparative in design - shows evidence from over 40 countries, along with detailed case studies of Sweden, Iceland, Scotland, and the UK. It covers aspects of well-being that include poverty, good quality jobs, the middle class, wealth, health, children’s development and performance in school, and reflects on social justice.

Leading international scholars challenge our current understanding of what works and draw policy lessons on how to improve the well-being of single parents and their children.

Also available through Bristol University Press.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



Download Full Book (3.7 MB)

Download Front Matter and Table of Contents by Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado (451 KB)

Download One: The triple bind of single-parent families: resources, employment and policies by Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado (616 KB)

Download Two: Single-mother poverty: how much do educational differences in single motherhood matter? by Juho Härkönen (624 KB)

Download Three: The ‘wealth-being’ of single parents by Eva Sierminska (1.1 MB)

Download Four: Income poverty, material deprivation and lone parenthood by Morag C. Treanor (1.0 MB)

Download Five: Single motherhood and child development in the UK by Susan Harkness and Mariña Fernández Salgado (1.3 MB)

Download Six: Single parenthood and children’s educational performance: inequality among families and schools by Marloes de Lange and Jaap Dronkers (1.1 MB)

Download Seven: Wellbeing among children with single parents in Sweden: focusing on shared residence by Emma Fransson, Sara Brolin Låftman, Viveca Östberg, and Malin Bergström (1.5 MB)

Download Eight: A life-course approach to single mothers’ economic wellbeing in different welfare states by Hannah Zagel and Sabine Hübgen (1.5 MB)

Download Nine: Doesn’t anyone else care? Variation in poverty among working single parents across Europe by Jeroen Horemans and Ive Marx (2.1 MB)

Download Ten: Middle-class single parents by Young-hwan Byun (1.4 MB)

Download Eleven: Does the use of reconciliation policies enable single mothers to work? A comparative examination of European countries by Wim Van Lancker (2.1 MB)

Download Twelve: Whose days are left? Separated parents’ use of parental leave in Sweden by Ann-Zofie Duvander and Nicklas Korsell (1.9 MB)

Download Thirteen: Matched on job qualities? Single and coupled parents in European comparison by Ingrid Esser and Karen M. Olsen (2.6 MB)

Download Fourteen: The health penalty of single parents in institutional context by Rense Nieuwenhuis, Anne Grete Tøge, and Joakim Palme (2.6 MB)

Download Fifteen: Cash benefits and poverty in single-parent families by Jonathan Bradshaw, Antonia Keung, and Yekaterina Chzhen (2.4 MB)

Download Sixteen: The role of universal and targeted family benefits in reducing poverty in single-parent families in different employment situations by Ann Morissens (2.7 MB)

Download Seventeen: Policies and practices for single parents in Iceland by Guðný Björk Eydal (2.2 MB)

Download Eighteen: The structural nature of the inadequate social floor for single-parent families by Bea Cantillon, Diego Collado, and Natascha Van Mechelen (2.3 MB)

Download Nineteen: Social justice, single parents and their children by Gideon Calder (2.1 MB)

Download Twenty: The socioeconomics of single parenthood: reflections on the triple bind by Janet C. Gornick (1.6 MB)

Download Twenty-One: Conclusion by Laurie C. Maldonado and Rense Nieuwenhuis (1.3 MB)

Download Index (2.9 MB)



Publication Date



Bristol Univesrity Press

The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, employment and policies to improve wellbeing