Strengthening the interpersonal support systems of single females through relationship enhancement training
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According to recent reports by the Bureau of the Census (1977, 1978), 19 million single women (i.e., never-married, divorced, or widowed) over the age of 2 4 live in the United States. Approximately 19 million American households are being maintained by single women. The 7.7 million family households headed by nonmarried women have increased by 46 percent since 1970. Within these family households, about 10 million children (16 percent of all children) are living in families with no father present. These figures have been growing steadily and appear to have increased sharply since 1970 (Bernard, 1975). This increase in the single female population has been precipitated by a variety of factors. Changing trends in population proportions and marriage patterns constitute one major source of change. Demographic data indicate a rise in the average age at which women marry, from 20.8 in 1970 to 21.6 in 1977. Higher divorce rates (a 79 percent increase since 1970) have also resulted in larger percentages of single women. Women wait longer than men to remarry after a divorce and more wom.en than men choose never to remarry (Bureau of the Census, 1977). Singlehood after the death of a spouse is also experienced more frequently by women than by men (Libby & Whitehurst, 1977). More women are now opting to remain single longer or to stay single permanently (Bernard, 197 5). Other women never marry because of the is proportionate number of men to women and the unavailability of suitable partners for many women of higher intelligence, educational background, and occupational status (Click, 1975; Spreitzer & Riley, 1974).