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Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)

Abstract

In the past decade, the proportion of mothers entering the labor force while they have children living at home has increased greatly. Despite the theoretical relevance of maternal employment to the development of an adequate theory of personality development and the immediate applied value of data related to the impact of maternal employment on the development of children, adequate research on the relations between maternal employment and developmental characteristics of children has begun only recently. The present research represents a contribution to the small but accumulating body of research literature related to maternal employment and development of children.

Four hypotheses were tested: (1) there is no relationship between maternal employment and the children's perceptions of family relationships; (2) there is no relationship between maternal employment and selected personality characteristics of the children; (3) there is no relationship between maternal employment and school-related variables of the children; and (4) there is no relationship between maternal employment and selected social-relationship characteristics of the children. Five measures of maternal employment were used. These were the number of months the mothers were employed during five periods in the children's lives: from the time the children were between 1 and 3 years of age; 4 and 6 years of age; 1 and 6 years of age; during the past 30 months; and during the entire lives of the children. The various dependent variables measured in this investigation were grouped under the four main areas specified in the hypotheses.

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