Teenage parenting is recognised as one of the greatest health and social problems in South Africa. Research in South Africa has shown that by the age of 18 years, more than 30% of teens have given birth at least once. Teen mothers may feel disempowered because they are ‘othered’ and consequently, may develop forms of resistance which in most cases may inhibit their ability to parent. Social support is therefore, an imperative intervention for successful teen parenting but this is not clearly understood in South Africa. This study aimed to compare the relationship between parental efficacy and social support systems of single teen mothers across different family forms.
A quantitative methodology with a cross-sectional comparative correlation design was conducted with 160 single teen mothers who resided with a family in a low socio-economic community. The participants completed a self-report questionnaire that comprised of the Social Provisions Scale (SPS), and the Parenting Sense of Competence (PSOC) scale. Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation were used to investigate the data.
A significant positive relationship between social support and parental efficacy was found. These findings are important for planning and applying parenting programmes amongst single teen mothers and facilitating awareness regarding the importance of social support and family forms when considering parenting practices.
The current study revealed, that a relationship between parental efficacy and social support of single teen mothers do exist and for most, it was statistically significant, meaning any changes from the two variables may affect each other and the performance of single teen mothers.