The sense of family belonging in university students from a single parent family compared with those from a two-biological - parent family
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Family belonging is considered as an important need that affects the individual emotionally, mentally and socially in all family structures. The aim of this study was to compare the sense of belonging to a family in university students having either single- or two-biological-parent families. Mixed-method research design were used, combining qualitative (26 participants) and quantitative (766 participants) methods. Results showed that “family belonging” of subjects from two-biological-parent families was higher than those from single-parent families. Among the participants having single-parent families a range of factors were significant in affecting the degree of their sense of family belonging. These included: the type of the single-parent family (either mother-headed or father-headed) and the reason leading to being a single-parent family. Qualitative analysis revealed that a significant portion of both participant groups felt part of a nuclear family; felt similarly about the essence, functions and components of family belonging; and reported that their relationship with their parents influenced their sense of family belonging. Both of the participant groups felt the sense of family belonging most and least on “special days” and during “difficult times”, respectively. These findings imply that family structure is critical indicators of family belonging and the relationships with parents related to family belonging. Improving family belonging in single parent families should be taken into consideration in the area of family welfare.
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