Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1881–1898 | Cite as

Are mothers’ work-to-family conflict, school involvement, and work status related to academic achievement?

  • Erin K. HolmesEmail author
  • Hayley M. Holladay
  • E. Jeffrey Hill
  • Jeremy B. Yorgason
Original Paper


This study investigates a moderated mediational model whereby maternal involvement in schooling mediates the association between maternal work-to-family conflict and children’s academic achievement in early adolescence, and socioeconomic contexts interact with maternal work status to moderate this association. Participants reflect a subsample of 725 fifth graders (and their employed mothers and teachers) from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (NICHD SECCYD). Of the children in this subsample, 49.4% were female and 79.7% were White, non-hispanic. On average mothers completed 14.7 years of education (SD = 2.4), with 75.4% of mothers completing more than a high school education. Multi-group analyses in SEM using Mplus 7.4 tested whether maternal work status would interact with core socioeconomic contexts (e.g., maternal education, child race, marital status, poverty status, work schedule, and number of children in the home) to moderate the relationship between maternal work-to-family conflict, maternal involvement in school, and academic outcomes. Results revealed partial mediation between maternal work-to-family conflict and achievement through maternal involvement in school. Our hypothesis that maternal work status would interact with other core socioeconomic contexts to moderate the relationship between maternal work-to-family conflict, maternal involvement in school, and academic outcomes was supported. We conclude that mothers’ involvement in school may be an important way in which negative outcomes of work-to-family conflict may be minimized. We also highlight the importance of situating maternal employment in a larger familial and socioeconomic context.


maternal employment work-family conflict parent school involvement academic achievement grades part-time employment 



We are grateful to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network for designing and carrying out the data collection for this project. The NICHD Study of Early Child Care is a study directed by a Steering Committee and supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff. The content of this project is solely the responsibility of the named authors and does not represent the official views of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Health, or individual members of the Network.


This study was not funded by any organization.

Author Contributions

EKH: provided the data, mentored HMH through the design and execution of the study, revised the paper and submitted it for publication conducting all revision asked of reviewers, and analyzed all data for the multiple group comparisons presented on Tables 3–8. HMH: designed and executed the study with EKH’s mentorship, analyzed the data presented on Tables 1,2,9,10, and wrote the first draft of the paper. EJH: helped with revisions as needed. JBY: helped with analyses as needed.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brigham Young University School of Family LifeProvoUSA
  2. 2.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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