Does Maternal Employment Impact Children’s Development?

Working mothers can rest easy – according to a new study, there are no negative effects on children’s social or emotional development if their mothers work during their early years.Researchers said that this was likely because mothers who work are more likely to have higher educational qualifications, live in a higher income household, and have a lower likelihood of being depressed than mothers who are unemployed.

The study, which looked at the effects of parental employment on children’s well being, found that the ideal scenario was actually where both parents lived in the home and both were in paid employment.

Meanwhile, children who lived in single-parent households or in two-parent households in which neither parent was employed were significantly more likely to exhibit challenging behavior.

“Some studies have suggested that whether or not mothers work in the first year of a child’s life can be particularly important for later outcomes,” said principal researcher Dr. Anne McMunn. “In this study we did not see any evidence for a longer-term detrimental influence on child behavior of mothers working during the child’s first year of life.”

The study was funded by Economic and Social Research Council in the United Kingdom.