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Title:MothersÕ employment, parental involvement, and the implications for intermediate child outcomes
Author:Zick, C. D., Bryant, W. K., & Osterbacka, E.
Resource Type:Journal Article
Social Science Research, 30

pp. 25-49
Education Level:Middle
Literature type:Research and Evaluation

In this study the authors investigate how married mothersÕ work patterns affect the frequency of potentially enriching parent-child activities and if these parent-child activities and work patterns relate to childrenÕs later behavior and academic achievements. Their data suggested that both parents in employed-mother households engage in reading/homework activities with children more frequently than parents in households where the mother was not employed. The researchers found that the frequency of parent child interaction did affect childrenÕs subsequent behavior and grades. They also found that as the fatherÕs education rose, both mothers and fathers increased their frequency of playing with children and/or working on projects together and that fathers increased their reading and/or helping with homework activities This study is grounded in BeckerÕs Mathematical Household Production Framework in which parents gain satisfaction from raising happy, healthy, well-behaved children. The researchers tested the mathematical model using data from the National Survey of Families and Households Documentation (NSFH), 1994, in which13,008 households were interviewed in 1987-1988 and 10,008 of the original households were re-interviewed in 1992-1994 using multivariate analyses. This study addresses the frequently expressed concern in the popular literature that children with employed mothers may spend less time with both parents and have poorer outcomes compared to children who are reared in a family with a working father and stay-at-home mom. All of the families included in the NSFH sample used in this study were married Caucasian parents. All of the fathers were employed and none of the families experienced a divorce or parental death during the five years between the first and second interviews. This study did not address whether other outcomes such as reading and math abilities, vocabulary, educational attainment, and adult earnings are similarly affected by parental involvement.

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