Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado, eds.

The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families

Policy Press 2018

New Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network May 8, 2018 Sarah E. Patterson

What kind of barriers and risks do single parents face? In their new book, The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies...

What kind of barriers and risks do single parents face? In their new book, The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies to Improve Well-Being (Policy Press, 2018), editors Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado argue that understanding inadequate resources, employment, and policies matter for understanding single-parent families. They refer to these as the “Triple Bind.” Part One explores resources, including exploring education, wealth gaps, and school settings. Other chapters in this section also explore how single-parenthood is often a transitory phase and the importance of co-parenting. Part Two explored inadequate employment and starts with an important chapter about taking a life course perspective when researching single-parents. The chapters in this section also tackle income transfers, paid parental leave, and other workplace characteristics. Part Three focuses on redistributive policies, including cash benefits, universal vs. targeted polices, daycare, and minimum income. Part Four concludes the book with important discussions around framing single-parents in a “deficit model” way, the importance of gender in the discussion of single-parents, and ideas for future research.

This book is free to download in its entirety online and therefore is made accessible to anyone who may be interested in one or all of the topics contained within!  Overall, this book tackles important topics around single-parents around the world and would be useful for an upper level undergraduate course in the Sociology of Family or Family Studies. It would also be the perfect addition to a graduate level course that focus on families.


Sarah E. Patterson is a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario. You can tweet her at @spattersearch.

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