Date of Completion


Embargo Period



ecosystemic resilience, unwed mothers, single mothers, mixed methods, trauma, context, community, cultural competence

Major Advisor

Sandra Rigazio-DiGilio

Associate Advisor

Charles M. Super

Associate Advisor

Linda Halgunseth

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The number of unwed mothers in Korea who raise their children on their own, instead of placing them up for adoption, is increasing. Even in the face of social stigma and discrimination, unwed mothers are beginning to advocate for their rights as mothers and change public perceptions of and cultural assumptions about unwed mothers. The purpose of this research is to explore unwed mothers’ perceptions about their own resilience in wider contexts and the facilitative factors that may be contributing to this. This study used an exploratory sequential design in which qualitative interview data were first collected to explore these phenomena, followed by quantitative survey data to determine the degree to which the findings were generalizable to a larger population. Results revealed the ways in which these mothers utilize their resources and overcome challenges when navigating new social contexts as unwed mothers. These findings are discussed in the context of social programs, policies, and professional practices to better promote resilience among unwed mothers.

Available for download on Sunday, November 28, 2021