BELIEFS ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT FOR CHILDREN

Authors


  • This research was supported by faculty research funds provided by the University of California, Irvine, and by the Center for Orange County Research. We wish to thank Constance Keenan for her able assistance in data collection and analysis; Lamia Gabal, Donna Gambale, and Lisa Reynolds for their role in contacting the sample of community women; and Jill Vidas for her careful processing of successive drafts of the manuscript.

Requests for reprints should be sent to any of the first three authors, Program in Social Ecology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92717.

Abstract

A 24-item scale was developed to measure Beliefs about the Consequences of Maternal Employment for Children (BACMEC), including beliefs about both benefits (13 items) and costs (11 items). Studies of five samples (n= 375) demonstrate that the total BACMEC scale and its subscales are highly reliable and have good convergent, divergent, and con-current validity. Scores on the Costs Subscale predicted greater sex-role traditionalism, women's employment status (not employed), and an older age of child at which mother's employment was deemed acceptable. Benefits scores predicted women's employment status (employed) and work hours (longer), younger age of child when maternal work is accept-able, and greater support for policies to aid working parents. The scales were not susceptible to a social desirability bias. Suggestions are provided for the use of the BACMEC scale in future research concerning employment and families.

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