Are There Persistent Effects of Early Maternal Employment on Child Cognitive Outcomes? A Longitudinal Look at Children from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care

Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

Negative associations between full-time maternal employment during the first year of life and children's cognitive outcomes at age three have been reported, using data on non-Hispanic white children from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care (Brooks-Gunn, Han, and Waldfogel, 2002). In this paper, we examine whether those effects persist beyond age 3. Using newly released data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care, we examine the links between early maternal employment and cognitive outcomes for these children at age 3, age 4 ½, kindergarten, and first grade. We consider whether the results differ for children with different characteristics (e.g., gender and temperament). We also examine the role that income may play in buffering the associations between early full-time maternal employment and later cognitive outcomes for children.

Presented in Session 88: Public Policy and the Wellbeing of Children and Youth