Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency

Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency

Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency

Working Mothers and Juvenile Delinquency

Synopsis

Thomas Vander Ven is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Ohio University. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati in 1998. His research interests include work, family, and crime, delinquency and the social control of adolescents, and criminological theory. Recent publications include articles in Social Problems, Criminology, and Crime and Delinquency.

Excerpt

Research on the causes and consequences of recent changes in the American family has produced a wealth of important, if often conflicting, empirical research findings. After several decades of studying major transformations in family life, researchers still routinely clash over whether the family is truly in decline, with increasingly negative consequences for children, or whether family forms are in many ways changing for the better, in which case public policy should be pointed at supporting the “new family”.

Family scholars do seem to agree on the principle forces underlying the metamorphosis of the family: wide scale economic shifts and changes in the composition of the paid workforce since World War II have had a dramatic impact on the forms, stability, and everyday functioning of family life. One of the most dramatic changes is the unprecedented number of women who have entered the paid workforce since the 1970s, which has had a profound impact on the ways in which families operate. Female labor force participation has increased dramatically in recent decades. According to census data, the proportion of women working outside the home has grown from approximately 28 percent in 1940 to close to 60 percent in 1992 (U.S. Bureau of Census 1993). Recent estimates show that well over half of those mothers with children less than one year old are employed outside the home and over 60 percent of those with children younger than three are employed (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2000).

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