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Maternal Employment in Childhood and Adults’ Retrospective Reports of Parenting Practices

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Do adults’ perceptions of their mothers’ and fathers’ parenting practices in childhood vary by their mothers’ employment status? Among adults in the Survey of Midlife Development in United States who lived with 2 biological parents until the age of 16 years (N = 2,246), those who had employed mothers during most or all of their childhood reported less support and less discipline from both parents than those who had stay-at-home mothers. Sons but not daughters who had employed mothers reported more verbal or physical assaults by both parents than their counterparts who had homemaker mothers. Despite greater social acceptance of maternal employment among younger Americans, cohort differences were not evident. These findings underscore the significance of mothers’ economic roles in influencing offspring’s perceptions of family dynamics.

Keywords: adult children; cohort; gender; life course; maternal employment; parenting

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00276.x

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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