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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: Maternal employment and children’s socio-emotional outcomes: an Australian longitudinal study
Authors: Baxter, Janeen 
Perales, F 
Salimiha, A 
Publication Date: Dec-2018
Pages: 1089-1098
Keywords: Mental health
Maternal employment
Socio-emotional functioning
Abstract: Objectives. Among children, poor socio-emotional functioning leads to poor health and well-being during childhood and later in life, and so understanding its social determinants is important. This study’s objective is to examine how maternal employment influences children’s socio-emotional outcomes in an Australian sample of families with two biological parents, testing the mediating role of maternal mental health, parenting practices, and parental income. Methods. We analyze six waves of panel data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (n = 7524 children, 29,701 observations) using random-effect models. Results. Children of employed mothers display better socio-emotional outcomes than children of non-employed mothers, though the effect magnitude is only moderate. Associations are stronger for internalizing than externalizing problems, and not mediated by parental mental health, parenting practices, or household income. Conclusions. Our findings can inform sociopolitical debates on the social value of maternal labor force participation and its impacts on children. They suggest that incentivizing maternal employment should bear no detrimental consequences on their children’s socio-emotional functioning. The different associations found for children’s internalizing and externalizing problems stress the value of distinguishing these constructs.
Keywords: Families -- Mothers; Employment; Child Development -- Emotional
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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