Maternal Employment and Adolescent Self-Care

Leonard M. Lopoo, Syracuse University

The author uses the National Educational Longitudinal Survey of 1988 supplemented by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth - 1979 to estimate the relationship between maternal employment and the likelihood of adolescent self-care. Unlike prior research, the author employs a variety of fixed effects models to account for omitted variables that may be related to maternal employment and adolescent self-care. Findings suggest that the adolescents of mothers who work full-time spend an additional 43 minutes per week in self-care compared to mothers who work part-time. Further, a standard deviation increase in the number of weeks a mother works during the year increases the probability that her child will be unsupervised by 31 percent. These effects are not constant across socio-economic groups: affluent families have strong effects, while the relationship is more tenuous among low-income families. This finding has important implications for pro-work social welfare policies in the U.S.

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Presented in Session 40: Welfare, Maternal Employment, and Adolescents