First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Development in the First 7 Years
August 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
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We compare families in which mothers worked full time (55%), part time (23%), or did not work (22%) in the first year. Our main results pertain to non-Hispanic White children (N = 900) although we also carry out some analyses for a small sample of African-American children (N = 113). Our findings provide new insight as to the net effects of 1st-year maternal employment as well as the potential pathways through which associations between 1st-year maternal employment and later child outcomes, where present, come about. Our structural equation modeling results indicate that, on average, the associations between 1st-year maternal employment and later cognitive, social, and emotional outcomes are neutral because negative effects, where present, are offset by positive effects. These results confirm that maternal employment in the 1st year of life may confer both advantages and disadvantages and that for the average non-Hispanic White child those effects balance each other.