The Effects of Early Maternal Employment on Children's Cognitive Outcomes: The Canadian Experience

Bali Ram, Statistics Canada
Teresa Abada, University of Western Ontario
Feng Hou, Statistics Canada

Using data from the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, this paper examined the effects of maternal employment on the PPVT-R scores of children who were one year or less in 1994-95 and became 4 to 5 year olds in 1998-99. Our results indicate that the scores for children whose mothers returned to work in six months of the child's birth were not significantly different from children whose mothers never worked or returned to work after a year. This happened regardless of mothers' social and economic backgrounds. However, we also found that children of highly educated mothers, particularly in the low-income group, who returned to work in 7 to 12 months after the child's birth, were most adversely affected. Patterns of results were similar for children in the high-income group but the magnitude of the adverse effects was not quite as severe as that in the low-income group.

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Presented in Session 12: Parental Leave and Child Outcomes: A Comparative Perspective