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Keywords:

  • care;
  • single mothers;
  • The Netherlands;
  • work

Since the implementation of the new General Assistance Act (1996) in The Netherlands, single parents on welfare have become obliged to seek work as soon as their youngest child has become 5 years old. This article presents a study of 1,049 Dutch single mothers on welfare. Using LISREL, a conceptual model is examined for the effects of both the past and current circumstances of the mothers on their labor orientation and on their steps toward a full-time job. An individual mother's motivation to work is particularly related to the importance she attaches to caring (care ethos) as opposed to working (work ethos) and to the problems she anticipates in combining care and work.