Department of Sociology, 213 Williams Hall, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.
Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter?
Version of Record online: 4 MAR 2015
© 2015 National Council on Family Relations
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 77, Issue 2, pages 355–372, April 2015
How to Cite
Milkie, M. A., Nomaguchi, K. M. and Denny, K. E. (2015), Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77: 355–372. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12170
This article was edited by Robert Crosnoe.
- Issue online: 4 MAR 2015
- Version of Record online: 4 MAR 2015
- Manuscript Accepted: 18 APR 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 10 APR 2014
- Manuscript Received: 28 MAY 2013
- child outcomes;
- mother–child relations;
- time diary methods
Although intensive mothering ideology underscores the irreplaceable nature of mothers' time for children's optimal development, empirical testing of this assumption is scant. Using time diary and survey data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, the authors examined how the amount of time mothers spent with children ages 3–11 (N = 1,605) and adolescents 12–18 (N = 778) related to offspring behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes and adolescent risky behavior. Both time mothers spent engaged with and accessible to offspring were assessed. In childhood and adolescence, the amount of maternal time did not matter for offspring behaviors, emotions, or academics, whereas social status factors were important. For adolescents, more engaged maternal time was related to fewer delinquent behaviors, and engaged time with parents together was related to better outcomes. Overall, the amount of mothers' time mattered in nuanced ways, and, unexpectedly, only in adolescence.