Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 29–49 | Cite as

The impact of adolescent females' assessments of parenthood and employment on plans for the future

  • Leigh A. Leslie


Indicators suggest that today's female adolescents will spend a substantial part of their adult lives in the labor force. It is less clear, however, what significance these young women will give to the empolyee role and how they will integrate it with other roles they plan to fill as adults. The present study explores adolescent females' assessments of the rewards and costs of employment and parenthood, and the impact of these assessments on their plans for organizing their adult lives. Five hundred and forty-nine 11th- and 12th-grade females completed questionnaires addressing their future work and fertility plans, characteristics of their family life at present, and their assessments of how rewarding and costly the roles of employee and parent would be to them. Results suggest that daughters of homemakers and daughters of employed women differ in their assessment of each role, and take different factors into consideration when making these assessments. Both groups, however, appear to give priority to the costs of employment when considering how they want to organize their lives as adults. The implications of these assessments for young women's role expectations and future satisfaction are discussed.


Young Woman Labor Force Health Psychology School Psychology Family Life 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Almquist, E. M., and Angrist, S. S. (1971). Role model influences on college women's career aspirations.Marril-Palmer Q. 17: 263–279.Google Scholar
  2. Baruch, G. K. (1972). Maternal influences upon college women's attitudes toward women and work.Dev. Psychol. 6: 32–37.Google Scholar
  3. Baruch, G. K. (1974). Maternal career-orientation in relation to parental identification in college women.J. Vocat. Behav. 4: 173–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beckman, L. J. (1978). The relative rewards and costs of parenthood and employment for employed women.Psychol. Women Q. 2: 215–235.Google Scholar
  5. Beckman, L. J. (1979). Fertility preferences and social exchange theory.J. Applied Soc. Psychol. 9: 147–169.Google Scholar
  6. Cherlin, A. J. (1981).Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Harvard Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
  7. Corder, J., and Stephen, C. W. (1984). Females' combinations of work and family roles: Adolescents' aspiration.J. Marriage Family 46: 391–402.Google Scholar
  8. Ferraro, G. A. (1984). Bridging the wage gap: Pay equity and job evaluations.Am. Psychol. 39: 1166–1170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Herzog, A. R., and Bachman, J. G. (1982).Sex role attitudes among high school seniors: Views about work and family roles. Research Report Series, Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  10. Hetherington, M. E. (1979). Divorce: A child's perspective.Am. Psychol. 34: 851–858.Google Scholar
  11. Lighter, J. R. (1979).The effects of maternal employment status and perceived intrafamilial variables on the career orientation of adolescent females. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Fordam University, New York, New York.Google Scholar
  12. Russo, F., and Denmark, F. L. (1984). Women, psychology and public policy: Selected issues.Am. Psychol. 39: 1161–1165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1980). A statistical portrait of women in the U.S. 1978.Current Population Reports, Series P-23, No. 100. U.S. Government Printing, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  14. U.S. Bureau of the Census (1981). School enrollment-Social and economic characteristics of students. October 1980 (Advanced report).Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 362, U.S. Government Printing, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leigh A. Leslie
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family and Community DevelopmentUniversity of MarylandCollege Park

Personalised recommendations