The Three-City Study was conducted with support from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development through Grants HD36093 and HD25936 and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, Social Security Administration, National Institute of Mental Health, Boston Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Edna Mc-Connell Clark Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago. The authors appreciate feedback from Dr. P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or of other grantors.
Does Maternal Employment Following Childbirth Support or Inhibit Low-Income Children’s Long-Term Development?
Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 1, pages 178–197, January/February 2013
How to Cite
Coley, R. L. and Lombardi, C. M. (2013), Does Maternal Employment Following Childbirth Support or Inhibit Low-Income Children’s Long-Term Development?. Child Development, 84: 178–197. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01840.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 29 AUG 2012
This study assessed whether previous findings linking early maternal employment to lower cognitive and behavioral skills among middle-class and White children generalized to other groups. Using a representative sample of urban, low-income, predominantly African American and Hispanic families (n = 444), ordinary least squares regression and propensity score matching models assessed links between maternal employment in the 2 years after childbearing and children’s functioning at age 7. Children whose mothers were employed early, particularly in their first 8 months, showed enhanced socioemotional functioning compared to peers whose mothers remained nonemployed. Protective associations emerged for both part-time and full-time employment, and were driven by African American children, with neutral effects for Hispanics. Informal home-based child care also heightened positive links.