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Previous research has shown that single mothers experience disproportionately higher rates of physical and mental illness compared to partnered mothers. In this video, moving beyond that comparative focus, MINE KÜHN analyzes how the transition into and length of single motherhood impacts health and wellbeing, as well as the factors that determine those impacts. By investigating changes in single motherhood over time using German panel data, Kühn finds that expanded employment correlates strongly with improved health and wellbeing for single mothers. Her findings highlight the vital importance of policies which enable single mothers to return to work, such as institutional childcare provision.


Mine Kühn is a Research Scientist in the Laboratory of Population Health at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. She has previously worked at Ruhr-University Bochum. Her research interests lie at the intersection of health and family dynamics. Kühn’s research on the health and wellbeing of single parents and their children takes a life course approach to explaining health inequalities, and considers heterogeneity among single parents as pathways into single parenthood or living arrangements.


Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock investigates the structure and dynamics of populations. The Institute’s researchers explore issues of political relevance, such as demographic change, aging, fertility, and the redistribution of work over the life course, as well as digitization and the use of new data sources for the estimation of migration flows. The MPIDR is one of the largest demographic research bodies in Europe, and is a worldwide leader in the study of populations. The Institute is part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research organization.

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Original publication

Changes in Lone Mothers’ Health: A Longitudinal Analysis

Kühn Mine
Lone Parenthood in the Life Course
Published in 2018

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