Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 987–999 | Cite as

The Relation Between Mothers’ Attitudes Toward Maternal Employment and Social Competence of 36-Month-Olds: The Roles of Maternal Psychological Well-Being and Sensitivity

  • Young Eun ChangEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The relation of mothers’ attitudes on the effects of maternal employment on children, psychological well-being, sensitivity of the mother, and children’s socioemotional development were examined in mothers who worked full time (consistently) and mothers who were unemployed during their children’s early years of growth from 6 months of age. Longitudinal observations of 1,213 mothers and children from age 1 to 36 months from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Study of Early Child Care were analyzed using structural equation models. Mothers and children benefited when maternal attitudes were consistent with the mothers’ actual employment status. Among consistently employed mothers, those with positive attitudes about employment had better psychological well-being. When mothers who were unemployed, they believed that maternal employment would have positive consequences for their children’s development, they preferred working outside home and they were more likely to show a low level of psychological well-being and poor quality of mother-child relation. Additionally, maternal well-being mediated the relation between a mother’s attitudes and a child’s social competence. For both groups, better psychological well-being of mothers was positively related to better child’s socioemotional outcome. Maternal sensitivity, however, did not mediate the relation between maternal attitudes and child’s social outcomes. The findings shed light on the need for a sensitive measure of characterizing mothers who work versus those who stay at home in order to better understand the effects on a child’s development.

Keywords

Maternal employment Attitudes Psychological well-being Sensitivity Social competence 

References

  1. Arbuckle, J. L. (2009). Amos 18 User’s Guide. Crawfordville, FL: Amos Development Corporation.Google Scholar
  2. Bachu, A., & O’Connel, M. (2001). Fertility of American Women: June 2000 (Current Population Reports P20–543RV). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  3. Barling, J., MacEwen, K. E., & Nolte, M. L. (1993). Homemaker role experiences affect toddler behaviors via maternal well-being and parenting behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1, 213–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett, R. C., & Marshall, N. L. (1991). The relationship between women’s work and family role and their subjective well-being and psychological distress. In M. Frankenhaeuser, J. Lundberg, & M. Chesney (Eds.), Women, work and health: Stress and opportunities (pp. 111–136). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bates, J., Marvinney, D., Kelly, T., Dodge, K., Bennett, T., & Pettit, G. (1994). Child-care history and kindergarten adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 30, 690–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baum, C. L. (2003). Does early maternal employment harm child development?: An analysis of the potential benefits of leave taking. Journal of Labor Economics, 21, 409–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Belsky, J. (1988). The effects of infant day care reconsidered. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 3, 235–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Belsky, J. (1990). Consequences of child care for children’s development: A deconstructionist view. In A. Booth (Ed.), Child care in the 1990 s: Trends and consequences (pp. 83–94). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  9. Belsky, J. (1999). Quantity of nonmaternal care and boys’ problem behavior/adjustment at ages 3 and 5: Exploring the mediating role of parenting. Psychiatry, 62, 1–20.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Belsky, J., & Eggebeen, D. (1991). Early and extensive maternal employment and young children’s socioemotional development: Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 1083–1110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Belsky, J., & Rovine, M. (1988). Nonmaternal care in the first year of life and security of infant-parent attachment. Child Development, 59, 157–167.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indices in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 238–246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Berger, L., Hill, J., & Waldfogel, J. (2005). Maternity leave, early maternal employment, and child outcomes in the U.S. Economic Journal, 115, 29–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Berger, L., Brooks-Gunn, J., Paxson, C., & Waldfogel, J. (2008). First year maternal employment and child outcomes: Differences across racial and ethnic groups. Children and Youth Service Review, 30, 365–387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Blunch, N. J. (2008). Introduction to structural equation modeling: Using SPSS and AMOS. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Bollen, K. A. (1989). Structural equations with latent variables. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1982). The context of development and the development of context. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Developmental psychology: Historical and philosophical perspectives (pp. 1–64). Hillsdale, N. J.: Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  18. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. (1997). The ecology of developmental process. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Theoretical models of human development (pp. 993–1028). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Browne, M., & Cudek, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. Bollen & J. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models (pp. 136–162). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Campbell, S. B., Cohn, J. F., & Meyers, T. (1995). Depression in first-time mothers: Mother-infant interaction and depression chronicity. Developmental Psychology, 31, 349–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Caruso, D. (1996). Maternal employment status, mother-infant interaction, and infant development in day care and non-day care groups. Child Care and Youth Forum, 25, 125–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chang, Y. E., & Huston, A. C. (2001). The relations of maternal beliefs about employment and infant child care to maternal well-being. Minneapolis, MN: Paper presented in Society for Research in Child Development.Google Scholar
  23. Cheung, G. W., & Rensvold, R. B. (2002). Evaluating goodness-of-fit indexed for testing measurement invariance. Structural Equation Modeling, 9, 233–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Clark, R., Hyde, J. S., Essex, M. J., & Klein, M. H. (1997). Length of maternity leave and quality of mother-infant interactions. Child Development, 68, 364–383.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Clarke-Stewart, A., & Allhusen, V. D. (2005). What we know about childcare. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Clarke-Stewart, K., Gruber, C., & Fitzgerald, L. (1994). Children at home and in day care. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  27. Cohany, S. R., & Sok, E. (2007). Trends in labor force participation of married mothers of infants. Monthly Labor Review, 2007(130), 9–16.Google Scholar
  28. Crockenberg, S., & Litman, C. (1991). Effects of maternal employment on maternal and two-year-old child behavior. Child Development, 62, 930–953.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Everson, M. D., Sarnat, L., & Ambron, S. R. (1984). Day care and early socialization: the role of maternal attitude. In R. C. Ainslie (Ed.), The child and the day care setting: Qualitative variations and development (pp. 63–97). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  30. Farel, A. N. (1980). Effects of preferred maternal roles, maternal employment, and sociographic status on school adjustment and competence. Child Development, 50, 1179–1186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Goldberg, W. A., Greenberger, E., Hamill, S., & O’Neil, R. (1992). Role demands in the lives of employed single mothers with preschoolers. Journal of Family Issues, 13, 312–333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gottfried, A. E., Gottfried, A. W., & Bathurst, K. (1988). Maternal employment, family environment, and children’s development: Infancy through the school years. In A. E. Gottfried & A. W. Gottfried (Eds.), Maternal employment and children’s development: Longitudinal research (pp. 11–58). New York: Plenum.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gottfried, A. E., Gottfried, A. W., & Bathurst, K. (1995). Maternal and dual-earner employment status and parenting. In M. Bornstein (Ed.), Handbook of parenting (pp. 139–160). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Greenberger, E., & O’Neil, R. (1990). Parents’ concerns about their child’s development: Implication for fathers’ and mothers’ well-being and attitude toward work. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52, 621–635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Greenberger, E., Goldberg, W. A., Crawford, T. J., & Granger, J. (1988). Beliefs about the consequences of maternal employment for children. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12, 35–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Han, W., Waldfogel, J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2001). The effects of early maternal employment on later cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63, 336–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hill, J., Waldfogel, J., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Han, W. (2005). Maternal employment and child development: A fresh look using newer methods. Developmental Psychology, 41, 833–850.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hock, E. (1980). Working and nonworking mothers with infants: Perceptions of their careers, their infant’s needs, and satisfaction with mothering. Developmental Psychology, 14, 37–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hock, E., & DeMeis, D. K. (1990). Depression in mothers of infants: The role of maternal employment. Developmental Psychology, 26, 283–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Hock, E., Gnezda, M. T., & McBride, S. L. (1984). Mothers of infants: Attitudes toward employment and motherhood following birth of the first child. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46, 425–431.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hoffinan, L. W. (1963). Mother’s enjoyment of work and effects on ihe child. In F. I. Nye & L. W. Hoffinan (Eds.), The employed mother in America. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  42. Hoffman, L. W., & Youngblade, L. M. (Eds.). (1999). Mothers at work: Effects on children’s well-being. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Hogan, A. E., Scott, K. G., & Bauer, C. R. (1992). The Adaptive Social Behavior Inventory (ASBI): A new assessment of social competence in high risk three-year-olds. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 10, 230–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Howes, C. (1990). Can the age of entry into child care and the quality of child care predict adjustment in kindergarten? Developmental Psychology, 26, 292–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hoyle, R. H., & Panter, A. T. (1995). Writing about structural equation models. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues, and applications (pp. 158–176). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  46. Jackson, A. P., & Huang, C. C. (1998). Concerns about children’s development: Implications for single, employed black mothers’ well-being. Social Work Research, 22, 233–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Klein, M. H., Hyde, J. S., Essex, M. J., & Clark, R. (1998). Maternal leave, role quality, work involvement, and mental health one year after delivery. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 22, 239–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lerner, J., & Galambos, N. (1988). The influence of maternal employment across life: The New York longitudinal study. In A. E. Gottfried & A. W. Gottfried (Eds.), Maternal employment and children’s development: Longitudinal research (pp. 85–119). New York: Pleum.Google Scholar
  49. MacEwen, K. E., & Barling, J. (1991). Effects of maternal employment experiences on children’s behavior via mood, cognitive difficulties, and parenting behavior. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53, 635–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1997a). Child care in the first year of life. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 43, 340–360.Google Scholar
  51. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1997b). The effects of infant child care on infant-mother attachment security: Results of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care. Child Development, 68, 860–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1998). Relations between family predictors and child outcomes: Are they weaker for children in child care? Developmental Psychology, 34, 1119–1128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (2003). Does amount of time spent in child care predict socioemotional adjustment during the transition to kindergarten? Child Development, 72, 976–1005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Radloff, L. (1977). The CES-D scale: A self-report depression scale for research in the general population. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1, 385–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Repetti, R. L., Matthews, K. A., & Waldron, I. (1989). Employment and women’s health. American Psychologist, 44, 1394–1401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Smith, K., Downs, B., & O’Connell, M. (2001). Maternity leave and employment patterns: 1961–1995: Household economic studies. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  57. Stafford, I. P. (1984). Relation of attitudes toward women’s roles and occupational behavior to women’s self-esteem. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 31, 332–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: An interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25, 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Stuckey, M. R., McGhee, P. E., & Bell, N. J. (1982). Parent-child interaction: The influence of maternal employment. Developmental Psychology, 18, 635–644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2009). Labor force participation of women and mothers, 2008. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/ted_20091009.htm.
  61. Vandell, D. (1979). Effects of a playgroup experience on mother-son and father-son interaction. Developmental Psychology, 15, 379–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Waldfogel, J. (2006). What children need. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Waldfogel, J., Han, W. J., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2002). The effects of early maternal employment on child cognitive development. Demography, 39, 369–392.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Widaman, K. F., & Reise, S. P. (1997). Exploring the measurement invariance of psychological instruments: Applications in the substance use domain. In K. J. Bryant, M. Windle, & S. G. West (Eds.), The science of prevention: Methodological advances from alcohol and substance abuse research (pp. 281–324). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yarrow, M. R., Scott, R., deLeeuw, L., & Heinig, C. (1962). Child-rearing in families of working and nonworking mothers. Sociometry, 25, 122–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Family WelfareChung-Ang UniversitySeoulKorea

Personalised recommendations