The description of the statistical dynamics of quantum oscillators is formulated in terms of the Wigner distribution, analogous to the more commonly used P distribution, with explicit formulas being obtained for its time evolution and for average values. This formulation is desirable because, e.g., the Wigner distribution always exists whereas the P distribution does not. The formalism is applied to the process of parametric amplification in a single mode, which may be considered as the degenerate form of the well-known two-mode case. This degeneracy gives rise to significantly different properties; for example, the P distribution for the single mode of interest evolves from a circularly symmetric two-dimensional Gaussian into an elliptically symmetric form and ceases to exist after a finite time, even for amplification in the presence of losses. This is contrary to the two-mode case. The corresponding Wigner distribution is found to exist as a well-behaved function for all time as expected, regardless of the amount of losses, and is used to calculate average values of various quantities of interest. It is found, e.g., that in the lossless case the average number of photons in the signal mode always becomes infinite as t-->∞. This is in contrast to the corresponding classical result for the lossless case which allows the signal to decay rather than to grow with time, depending on the relative phase between the signal and the pump. Field fluctuations are discussed and found to have some unusual properties. The combination of frequency up-conversion with single-mode amplification is also described briefly. The effect of the quantization of the pump oscillator is considered in an Appendix.