Parenting of young children by employed and nonemployed mothers

Margaret Anderson Rodriguez, Marquette University


Although increasing numbers of mothers of young children are entering the work force, little is known about the parenting behaviors of employed mothers. The purpose of this study was to determine whether there were differences between employed and nonemployed mothers of young children in terms of their parenting behaviors, perceptions of child behavior problems, and maternal self-descriptions. A measure of social desirability also was included. A total of 132 mothers, 66 employed and 66 nonemployed, participated in the study. Mothers completed a demographic form, the Social Desirability Scale (SDS), the Parent Behavior Checklist (PBC), the Behavior Screening Questionnaire (BSQ), and the Adjective Generation Technique (AGT). Significant relationships were found between mothers' scores on the SDS and the following variables: total problem behavior score on the BSQ, and the expectations raw score on the PBC. The anxiety and favorability ratings of mothers' self-descriptions were also significantly related to SDS scores. However, no significant difference was found between employed and nonemployed mothers' total SDS scores. After controlling for the effects of social desirability, significant differences were found between employed and nonemployed mothers' raw scores on the nurturing subscale of the PBC. Employed mothers reported fewer nurturing behaviors than nonemployed mothers. Significant differences also were found between mothers of younger children and mothers of older children on the expectations and discipline subscales of the PBC. Mothers of older children reported higher developmental expectations and use of discipline than mothers of younger children. Finally, nonemployed mothers' self-descriptions were rated as more anxious than employed mothers. Other variables including marital satisfaction, time use, quality of mother-child interaction, job satisfaction, and satisfaction with spouse's time use were studied. Employed mothers and nonemployed mothers did not differ in marital satisfaction, satisfaction with employment status, or quality of mother-child interaction. Differences in time use were found. In conclusion, the present study found that employed and nonemployed mothers present a similar profile in parenting their young children.

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Margaret Anderson, "Parenting of young children by employed and nonemployed mothers" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9505912.