Maternal Employment and Perceived Stress: Their Impact on Children's Adjustment and Mother-Child Interaction in Young Divorced and Married Families

By Pett, Marjorie A.; Vaughan-Cole, Beth et al. | Family Relations, April 1994 | Go to article overview

Maternal Employment and Perceived Stress: Their Impact on Children's Adjustment and Mother-Child Interaction in Young Divorced and Married Families


Pett, Marjorie A., Vaughan-Cole, Beth, Wampold, Bruce E., Family Relations


The impact of maternal employment on children's socialization and mother-child interaction is of continued concern in child development and mental health (Buehler, 1992; Gottfried & Gottfried, 1988; Hoffman, 1986; Lerner & Galambos, 1991; MacEwen & Barling, 1991; Spitz, 1988). Although a number of authors have pointed out the positive effects of maternal employment on children's adjustment (Barling, 1990; Hoffman, 1986; Hoffman & Nye, 1974), others have expressed concern over mothers' long and inflexible working hours, the lack of part-time jobs that pay adequately, and children's need for consistent adult supervision and high-quality child care (Howell, 1973; Hughes & Galinsky, 1988; Lerner & Galambos, 1991; Ross & Mirowsky, 1988; Voydanoff, 1984).

Research indicates that maternal employment is a multidimensional variable that has a differential impact on children depending on the number of hours a mother works, her job description, job stability, and role satisfaction (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter, 1982; Gottfried & Gottfried, 1988). Moreover, a mother's perceived level of stress and her feelings of well-being, whether as an employee outside the home, a full-time homemaker, or both, may be critical determinants of positive maternal parenting behavior and children's adjustment (Campbell & Moen, 1992; MacEwen & Barling, 1991; Patterson, 1990; Spitz, 1988). Maternal employment experiences may also have different effects on children's adjustment and family interaction depending on the children's ages and gender, as well as the number of children in the family (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter, 1982; Campbell & Moen, 1992; Kelly & Voydanoff, 1985; Zaslow, Rabinovich, & Suwalsky, 1991).

Some mothers, particularly divorced ones, do not have the luxury of choosing whether to become a working parent, because the family's economic needs override personal preference. Current statistics, for example, indicate that nearly two thirds of mothers with dependent children are employed outside the home (MacEwen & Barling, 1991). Campbell and Moen (1992) report that, in 1988, 54% of single mothers and 57% of married mothers with preschool children were in the labor force.

Maternal Stress and Well-Being

Rutter (1988) has described stress as a centuries-old concept that still remains lacking in both adequate definition and understanding. Lazarus and Folkman (1984) describe stress as a "rubric consisting of many variables and processes" (p. 12). One such process is psychological stress, which the authors describe as "a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being" (p. 18). Psychological stress may be a result of cumulative and/or severely taxing life events such as divorce, ill health, or the death of a family member. Other sources of psychological stress, however, are the routine events or daily "hassles" that accumulate, frustrate, and irritate family members (Kanner, Coyne, Schaefer, & Lazarus, 1981). Such hassles include relatively minor-but annoying-practical concerns, such as misplacing or losing things, traffic problems, demands of children, concerns about money, and pressures from work overload.

The limited research that is available concerning the effect of maternal hassles on the mother-child relationship suggests that these stressors may negatively influence both a mother's perceptions of her child's adjustment and the quality of mother-child interaction (Crnic & Greenberg, 1990; Gelfand, Teti, & Fox, 1992; Patterson, 1988). Hassles may also influence these variables indirectly through their negative association with mothers' feelings of well-being, a construct that has been reported to be positively associated with child outcomes and the quality of mother-child relationships, especially among divorced families (Forgatch, Patterson, & Skinner, 1988; Garmezy, Mastin, & Tellegin, 1984; Kanner et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Maternal Employment and Perceived Stress: Their Impact on Children's Adjustment and Mother-Child Interaction in Young Divorced and Married Families
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.