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Maternal employment, mothering and outcomes for children

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Maternal employment, mothering and outcomes for children
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Child psychology ( jstor )
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Employment ( jstor )
Gender roles ( jstor )
High school students ( jstor )
High schools ( jstor )
Labor ( jstor )
Mathematical variables ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )
Child development ( lcsh )
Children of working mothers ( lcsh )
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Miami metropolitan area ( local )
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1987.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 155-165).
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Typescript.
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Vita.
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by Susan Harvey Hoerbelt.

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MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT, MOTHERING
AND OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN




By

SUSAN HARVEY HOERBELT


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF
PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


1987















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Many people have contributed to this dissertation

and I am grateful to each of them. I would like to thank

the faculty of the Sociology Department at the University

of South Florida. At various times and in various ways,

they have kept me headed in the right direction. The late

Dr. Sol S. Kramer provided the early inspiration for this

research. Drs. Richard Scott and John C. Henretta gave

insight and direction to early drafts of this paper.

Dr. Gerald R. Leslie was my mentor for a number of

years. As such he endured my lack of editorial skills,

my impatience, and my frustrations. I am deeply respect-

ful and appreciative. Without his unfailing support and

encouragement this dissertation would not be a reality.

My committee members, Drs. Alan Agresti, Constance

Shehan, Joseph Vandiver, and Hernan Vera have been helpful

and supportive throughout the long and frustrating

research process. Dr. Felix Berardo has served as the









Chair of my committee. His support and guidance have

provided the momentum for keeping the project on course

and bringing it to fruition. I am grateful for his help.

My family has remained my source of inspiration

through the joys and frustrations of my education.

There are three men who have endured this learning pro-

cess with me. To my sons, Bryan and Gregory, and to my

husband, Richard, my thanks and my love.


iii
















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .


LIST OF TABLES .


LIST OF FIGURES .


ABSTRACT . .


CHAPTERS


I INTRODUCTION .


Women in the Labor Force .
Preliminary Statement of the Research
Problem .
Statement of the Research Strategy .


II INFLUENTIAL FACTORS IN SOCIALIZATION
AND CONSEQUENCES FOR CHILDREN. .


The Importance of the Mother Throughout
Stages of Development in Children. .
The Influence of Gender .
Areas of Socialization .


III REVIEW OF RESEARCH .


Research Summaries .
Attitudinal Development .
Behavioral Differences .
Sex Role Orientation .


Page


. ii


* vi


* viii


. ix










5
7
. 1
. 1


. 16
. 7



* 9



. 10
. 16
. 18


. 28


. 28
. 34
. 40
. 43










Page


IV METHODOLOGY .

Hypotheses .
Dependent Variable: Children's Attitudes.
Dependent Variable: Children's Behaviors.
Dependent Variable: Sex Role Orientation.
Independent Variable: Maternal Employment
Covariates .
Description of the Data .
Method of Analysis .
Logic of the Analysis .


V FINDINGS .. .


Sample Characteristics .. ... 86
Findings: Attitudes Toward Maternal
Employment .. .101
Findings: Behavioral Outcomes ..119
Findings: Career Orientation. .... .124
Maternal Employment and Its Impact on
Children .. .131


VI DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS
FOR FUTURE RESEARCH .

Children's Attitudes .
Differences in Behavior. .
Maternal Employment and Careerism.
The Nature of the Data .
The Nature of the Issue. .
Future Research .
Conclusions .

BIBLIOGRAPHY .

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .


. 133

. 133
. 134
. 135
. 136
. 139
. 148
. .152

. 155

. .166


. 48


. 85












LIST OF TABLES


Table Page

1-1 Annual Rate of Growth of the Civilian
Labor Force by Sex and Age 1975-79 and
Projected to 1995 (in %) 4

5-1 Means and Standard Deviations (SD) of
Variables ... 87

5-2 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Did Not Work
Before Their Children Were in Elementary
School. ... .. 88

5-3 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Worked Part
Time Before Their Children Were in
Elementary School .. 89

5-4 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Worked Full
Time Before Their Children Were in
Elementary School .... .. 90

5-5 Zero Order Correlation Coefficients .. 91

5-6 Regression of Maternal Employment,
Maternal Attitude, and Background
Characteristics on Children's
Attitudes--Partial Regression Coef-
ficients and Standard Errors. .... .102

5-7 F Values for Interaction Terms of
Maternal Work Categories and Parental
Attitudes on the Attitudes of Their
Children ... .. 112











Table Page

5-8 Extreme Cases of Maternal Employment--
Full Time Throughout Children's Lives
and No Work in Any Period of Children's
Lives--and Background Characteristics
on Children's Attitudes; Correlations,
Means, and Standard Deviations. .. .. ..115

5-9 Regression of Extreme Cases of Maternal
Employment and Background Characteristics
on Children's Attitudes--Partial
Regression Coefficients and Standard
Errors . .. 116

5-10 Regression of Maternal Employment and
Background Characteristics on Behavior
Index for Males and Females--Partial
Regression Coefficients and Standard
Errors. .... ..121

5-11 Regression of Maternal Employment and
Background Characteristics on Anticipated
Ages at Marriage and Birth of First Child
for Males, Females Whose Mothers Have
Never Worked, and Females Whose Mothers
Have Worked Full Time Throughout Their
Lives--Partial Coefficients and
Standard Errors .. .126


vii















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure Page

1 Relationship of the Congruence of
Maternal Attitudes and Those of Children
on the Basis of Maternal Employment. ... 51

2 Relationship of Maternal Employment to
Nonconfirming Behavior Index--Males
and Females Tested Separately. ... 55

3 Relationship of Maternal Employment to
the Sex Role Orientations of Children--
Males and Females Tested Separately. ... .58


viii












Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
of Doctor of Philosophy



MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT, MOTHERING
AND OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN

By

Susan Harvey Hoerbelt

August 1987


Chairman: Dr. Felix M. Berardo
Major Department: Sociology

Possible outcomes for children on the basis of

maternal employment patterns were investigated in this

study. Two hypotheses were derived from previous theory

and research. These were tested using the data described

in a 1980 report by the U.S. Department of Education,

High School and Beyond. These data were gathered from a

national sample of high school seniors and sophomores.

The first hypothesis predicted that the influence of

parental attitudes on those expressed by their children

would be negatively correlated to the extent of maternal

employment. The more mothers work, the less time they










have to inculcate their children with their particular

attitudes. Conversely, the more time the children are

in someone else's care, the more influential attitudes

of caretakers should be. Results of the analysis did

not support the hypothesis.

The second hypothesis predicted differences in the

behaviors and attitudes of children on the basis of

maternal employment. During the periods when mothers are

at work, socialization is accomplished by others; i.e.,

daycare workers. Because substitute socializers do not

have the investment in children that their parents have,

the intensity of the process may diminish. Furthermore,

the influence of peers in the socializing process would

increase. Previous research and theory suggest that the

behavior of males may be more greatly affected than that

of females. Results of this analysis were not able to

support this hypothesis.

Attitudes regarding sex-role orientations of

children should also be influenced by maternal employment.

Sex role orientations are acquired, in part, by observing

behaviors of others, especially close relatives of the

same sex. Mothers who are gainfully employed exhibit









behaviors reflecting a sex-role orientation which differs

from that exhibited by mothers who are not gainfully

employed. Previous research and theory suggest that

maternal employment patterns should be especially impor-

tant to the sex-role orientations of daughters. The

present study could not support this hypothesis.














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION



This dissertation reports the results of a study on

the effects of maternal employment on children. Changes

in the work patterns of mothers over the past two

decades make this a timely issue. The percentage of U.S.

women in the labor force has been increasing for some

time. This has been true for all women: married women,

women with children, and female heads of household.

Women in the Labor Force

In 1940, 26% of women of working age (16 and older)

had jobs or were looking for work (Waite, 1981). By 1960,

this figure had risen to 37.7% (Simmons, Freedman, Dunkle,

& Blau, 1975). By 1980, 52% of these women were working

or seeking work (Waite, 1981). Following this protocol,

the term work is used herein to indicate gainful employ-

ment. The proportion of married women who work has also

increased. In 1940, 13.3% of all married women were gain-

fully employed (Wandersee, 1981). By 1960, 30.7% of this

group was at work (Masnick & Bane, 1980). Two decades








later, 50% of all married women were in the labor force

(Waite, 1981).

Traditionally, the women least likely to work out-

side the house have been those with children. However,

gainful employment has also been increasing among these

women. In 1960, 33.1% of mothers with school-age children

participated full time in the labor force (Masnick & Bane,

1980). By 1980, this portion had increased to 54% (Waite,

1981). The most dramatic increases in labor force par-

ticipation rates have been among mothers with young

children. In 1960, 23.5% of mothers with children aged

3-5 years were working full time for at least some part

of the year. Among those mothers with children under age

3, 19.4% held full-time jobs (Masnick & Bane, 1980); 20

years later, 45% of mothers of children under age 6 were

in the labor force (Waite, 1981).

Among households headed by females, figures indicate

high numbers of employed mothers. According to the U.S.

Department of Labor (1983), in 1970 the number of

divorced mothers with children ages 6-17 who were work-

ing amounted to 82.4%. Among mothers with children under

age 6, the number was 63.3%. In 1980, these figures

stood at 82.3% and 65.4%, respectively, showing that









this pattern has remained relatively stable for more

than a decade.

Increasingly larger numbers of young children have

employed mothers. For example, in March 1980, 43% of

all children under age 6 had working mothers. In a single

year, this figure had risen nearly 2% to 44.9% ("Changing

Faces," 1981) (see Table 1.1).

There is every indication that rates of employment

among women will continue to increase. In projecting

future trends in labor force participation of women,

Fullerton (1980) has presented three possible forecasts

through 1995. These reflect conservative (low growth)

estimates, middle range estimates, and high growth pre-

dictions. He concluded that, regardless of how much the

total labor force increases, women will account for most

of that growth. "More than two-thirds of the 1980-95 labor

force growth would come from women" (p. 12).

Fullerton's projections show that prime-age workers

(25-54 years), particularly women, will experience an

important rate of growth. Table 1 contrasts middle-

growth rate projections for men and women by aie groups

(p. 13). For each time period, the rate of growth for

women is nearly double that for men.









Table 1-1. Annual Rate of Growth of the Civilian
Labor Force by Sex and Age 1975-79 and
Projected to 1995 (in %).



Sex, Age Actual 1979- 1985- 1990-
1975-79 1985 1990 1995


Men
16 to 24 3.15 -1.47 -2.17 -1.16
25 to 54 1.83 2.06 1.88 1.10
Over 54 -0.81 0.78 -1.20 -0.57

Women
16 to 24 3.30 0.49 -0.90 -0.21
25 to 54 4.88 4.28 3.24 1.73
Over 54 2.05 0.45 -0.61 0.01


Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statis-
tics, Handbook of Labor Statistics. Bulletin No. 2175.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983,
p. 13.












Preliminary Statement of the
Research Problem

Experts from various fields have been concerned with

the potentially "negative" effects of maternal employment

on children. Maternal employment sets limits on the

amount of time that mothers have available to spend with

their children. It may also diminish the intimacy of the

mother-child relationship inasmuch as it causes children

to be exposed to surrogate socializing agents such as

babysitters and day-care center personnel. Maternal em-

ployment may produce important changes in the mother-

child relationship and should result in various conse-

quences for children. However, empirical studies have not

been able to provide support for this position. After

reviewing the pertinent research findings, Rallings and

Nye (1979) concluded that, "despite a persistent concern

over the effects of maternal employment on the child, we

can find little evidence of appreciable effects, positive

or negative" (p. 217). Various experts have pointed out

methodological shortcomings of past research which may

account for the disparity between theoretical predictions

and empirical evidence.









This dissertation investigates this debate by focus-

ing on three criticisms of previous research. Specif-

ically, the present study addresses three of these

criticisms:

1. Many studies were conducted using children in

daycare centers associated with universities (Belsky

& Steinberg, 1978). Children who attend these centers

and the centers themselves do not represent daycare

facilities throughout the society. Maternal employment

may not have the same effects on these children as those

which would be found in the general population.

2. They often fail to adequately operationalize

and control for the effects of social class, which may

be important in determining outcomes of maternal employ-

ment for children (Hoffman, 1974).

3. Past research has also been criticized for

failing to take into account past employment histories

of mothers, which may influence any effects of maternal

employment for children (Maccoby, 1980).

This study analyses possible relationships between

maternal employment and outcomes for children using the

data set by the U.S. Dept. of Education (1980). The









data were gathered from a nationally representative

sample of high school sophomores and seniors between

ages 15 and 17. The heterogeneity of the sample permit-

ted generalization of findings to a wider cross-section

of children than allowed by most previous studies. The

data set also contains a detailed operationalization of

social class. Hence, changes in the effects of maternal

employment across levels of social class could be exam-

ined. In response to a third criticism of previous

research, High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept. of Education,

1980) also contains information as to maternal employment

patterns throughout children's lives.

Statement of the Research Strategy

The goal of the present study was to examine the

disparity between speculations regarding gender role be-

liefs and research findings concerning the topic of ef-

fects of maternal employment on children. This was

accomplished by deriving testable hypotheses from widely

accepted theories regarding child development (see

Chapter II).

One hypothesis focused on the extent of the influence

parents have on their children's attitudes. Children

whose mothers have not worked--i.e., remained the









traditional socializing agent--should be expected to ex-

press attitudes more closely aligned to those of their

mothers than those children whose mothers worked--i.e.,

used surrogate socializing agents.

A second focus concerned some possible behavioral

and attitudinal differences among children on the basis

of their mothers' employment patterns. Children with

nonworking mothers should be expected to demonstrate a

higher degree of conformity to societal standards of

behavior than those whose mothers have been gainfully em-

ployed. Also, mothers who have never worked provide a

traditional role model for their children. They should

embrace sex-role attitudes which are rather traditional

compared to the sex-role orientations expressed by

children of employed mothers.

Chapter II discusses the various theoretical per-

spectives from which the hypotheses were derived.

Chapter III reviews the other side of the debate, per-

tinent pieces of research revealing the lack of empirical

evidence that maternal employment affects outcomes for

children. The hypotheses, specific models, and analyt-

ic techniques are then formally presented in Chapter IV.














CHAPTER II
INFLUENTIAL FACTORS IN SOCIALIZATION
AND CONSEQUENCES FOR CHILDREN



Individuals acquire personal identities and develop

values and aspirations through the process of socializa-

tion. This is a complex process which is influenced by

a variety of factors (Broom, Selznick, & Darroch, 1981).

Furthermore, the impact of any single factor may vary

over time (Reid & Stephens, 1985). One relationship

that is influential throughout the process of socializa-

tion is that of mothers and their children (Erikson,

1982). Because maternal employment represents a dif-

ferent child-rearing pattern than that followed by

mothers who are not employed and are the primary

socializers of their children, there may be significant

consequences for children.

The importance of the role of the mother throughout

the process of socialization is discussed primarily in

the context of Erikson's (1950, 1982) idea of psycho-

social development. He conceives of child development as










sequential and emergent. This premise provides one way of

understanding how conditions such as maternal employment

may affect children at various stages in their lives.

This chapter develops the theory from which

hypotheses are drawn. The process of acquiring attitudes

is the basis for one prediction regarding outcomes for

children on the basis of maternal employment patterns.

The perspective of social learning theory provides a

theoretical explanation as to other ways in which children

may be affected by maternal employment. Basic differ-

ences in the socialization of males and females also

suggests that some outcomes may be more important for

males and others may be more important for females. The

specific research hypotheses, based on these theories,

will be formally presented in Chapter IV.

The Importance of the Mother Throughout
Stages of Development in Children

One way to understand the importance of the mother's

role in socialization of children is to trace the acquisi-

tion of personality as it is influenced by that process.

Strong bonds have been found to develop between mothers

and their children within a few hours of birth (Bronfen-

brenner, 1977). Once this link has been established,









maintenance and continuity are extremely important to

young children in the development of a sense of well-

being.

The importance of the mother-child relationship for

children is widely accepted. Social learning theorists

(Kagan, 1984) and parental identification theorists

(Damon, 1983) acknowledge the impact that mothers have

on their developing children's personalities. Erikson's

(1950, 1982) theories regarding the psychosocial devel-

opment of children also stress the mother-child relation-

ship. One way to elucidate the continuing significance

of this relationship in the development of children is

to trace children's psychosocial development using

Erikson's theories.

Erikson, expanding on Freud's ideas on the sexuality

of children, argues that psychosocial development occurs

in a series of ordered stages. Each stage of develop-

ment requires children to acquire certain competencies

if they are to be successful in subsequent stages of

development. In each of these stages, the importance of

the mother in this acquisition process is apparent.

The first task is to develop a sense of trust. Erikson

interprets this process as the evolution of a sense of









reliability. "The general state of trust implies

that one has learned to rely on the sameness and con-

tinuity of outer providers" (Erikson. 1950, p. 220).

Success at this stage of development is the acquisition

of a stronger feeling of trust than its opposite, mis-

trust. The ability to rely on others is crucial as the

foundation for healthy personality development. One way

to establish this trust is through the mother-child

relationship. A strong and consistent relationship with

the mother is central to the success of the development

of this sense of trust (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). To the

extent that mothers leave their children in the care of

surrogates, some continuity in the mother-child rela-

tionship is lost.

This stage is followed by the development of a

sense of autonomy. Feelings of autonomy are encouraged

by a continuity of associations developed previously.

Mothers who enter the labor force at this stage break

this continuity, which is still critical to the develop-

ing child. During this period, children also acquire

their earliest sense of independence. Alternatively,

children may develop feelings of shame and doubt. In

this instance, children doubt their own competence and










autonomy. Continuity in mother-child relationships

provides a foundation for the evolution of feelings of

independence (Kagan, 1984).

By the time children enter school, a third stage has

passed. Critical at this point is the development of a

feeling of initiative or the ability to have some control

over the events in their lives. Children also acquire

feelings of self-esteem. The negative side of this phase

of development is the feeling of guilt. When this feel-

ing dominates, children suffer a loss of self-esteem.

Erikson (1982) supports the view that the major outer in-

fluence in children's development remains the family,

especially the mother.

The elementary school-age years have been termed the

period of latency (Erikson, 1950). During this time,

children expand their range of significant others to

include increasing numbers of individuals outside the

family. If mothers choose this period to enter the

labor force, the danger is that the child may be overbur-

dened with too many new elements in life. This may cause

children to feel overwhelmed by their suddenly enlarged

circle of relationships (Kagan & Moss, 1962).









Another psychosocial task during this period is to

develop a sense of industry. Children must learn to feel

competent outside the family because, according to

Erikson (1950), they have "experienced a sense of

finality regarding the fact that there is no workable

future within the womb of the family" (p. 227). The

alternative to the sense of industry is the feeling of

inferiority. For children dominated by a sense of

inferiority, feelings of inadequacy and mediocrity are

confirmed (Kagan, 1984). Continued support of parents,

especially mothers, in helping children achieve this

sense of competence is important for children's success

(Rollins & Thomas, 1979).

The stage of adolescence involves the development

of a sense of identity (Kagan, 1984). According to Erik-

son (1982), this is a period characterized by a struggle

in which the task is to synthesize an individual identity

from a number of influences which include "constitu-

tional givens, idiosyncratic libidinal needs, favored

capacities, significant identifications, effective

defenses, successful sublimations, and consistent roles"

(p. 74). Children who are unable to develop this

identity suffer from "role confusion." This is the










inability to feel a sense of inner continuity between

one's self-image and various roles. Throughout this

period, mothers continue to provide a sense of con-

tinuity for their children. As teenagers develop their

own values and aspirations, mothers serve as a role

model (Levin & Arluke, 1983). The mother who is gain-

fully employed provides a different role model from the

one who is not (Vanfossen, 1977). Furthermore, if

mothers are spending a significant amount of time away

from home during this period, there is less opportunity

to influence the attitudes of their children (Felson &

Gottfredson, 1984).

The successful evolution of personality has par-

ticular needs of socializers at each stage of develop-

ment. During the preschool years, a sense of trust is

accomplished by providing a continuity in socializers

(Kagan, 1984). The school-age years require careful

introduction into a society larger than the family.

Adolescents must integrate various data into the emerging

adult personality. One source of these data is role

models. Role models impart important cues for behaviors

and attitudes in the form of their own actions and

beliefs.









Erikson (1982) argues that the most important

factor throughout children's psychosocial development

is the home atmosphere. More specifically, the quality

of the parent-child relationship is pivotal in per-

sonality development. Children who have strong positive

relationships with their parents are likely to develop

healthy self-identities. Children who experience con-

sistent home environments are likely to view their

world as reliable and trustworthy. Maternal employment,

inasmuch as it results in a different home environment

from the one provided by mothers who are not employed,

may have various consequences for children.

The Influence of Gender

Behavioral differences between the sexes are observa-

ble from birth (Bardwick, 1971). There is considerable

evidence to suggest the existence of constitutional

variation in males and females. Systematic observations

of responses and activity throughout childhood indicate

such differences. Some of these are apparent before

socialization or other environmental effects could alter

the behaviors of the children. Observations of neonates

indicate that males exhibit higher levels of wakeful-

ness and motor activity (Phillips, King, & DuBois, 1978).










By one year, males and females demonstrate even

greater specificity with respect to preferences of ac-

tivity and stimulus (Bardwick, 1971).

Moving to the preschool years and beyond, there is

still a range of differences which seem to be linked to

the sex of a child. The consistency of results over

time is provocative. Male children demonstrate higher

levels of aggressive behavior than females (Block, 1983;

Roopnarine, 1984). Furthermore, this type of behavior

is apparently more stable and consistent among males

than among females (Kagan & Moss, 1962). Block (1983)

postulates that sex-appropriate behaviors and attitudes

permeate many areas of socialization. For example,

many of the games children play are heavily favored by

one sex or the other (Lever, 1976, 1978). This is the

case during the preschool years, elementary school

years, and high school years. Similarly, many attitudes

seem to remain influenced by the sex of the child

throughout these periods.

To recapitulate, during each stage in the psycho-

social development of children, mothers or their sur-

rogates serve a somewhat different yet important










purpose (Smith, 1984). The experiences of children

socialized primarily by their mothers as opposed to the

experiences of those socialized by a variety of in-

dividuals--caretakers, for example--should be manifest

in observable differences between the two groups.

There is also reason to predict that some outcomes of

maternal employment are mediated by the sex of the child.

Areas of Socialization

On the basis of the theoretical framework presented

in this chapter, it was possible to derive testable

hypotheses. These hypotheses, formally presented in

Chapter IV, focus on two influences in the socializa-

tion process. The first was concerned with the effect

of mothers on their children's acquisition of attitudes.

The second line of inquiry attended to the differences

in males and females with regard to differences in the

socialization process.

Acquisition of Attitudes

One direct method of socialization is to provide a

set of rules. Some behaviors are mandatory, others are

prohibited. However, such explicit socialization covers

only a small portion of situations about which children

must make decisions. Children must also be given a set










of broader guidelines. These guide their decisions

throughout life. These general guidelines may be thought

of as a system of values. Kluckhohn (1961) has defined

values as "a selective orientation toward experience,

implying a deep commitment or repudiation, which

influences ordering of 'choices' between possible

alternatives in action" (p. 18).

By internalizing a set of values, children are

equipped to make a wide variety of decisions throughout

life. Parsons (1964) argues that the indoctrination

of children with a system of values is of paramount im-

portance to their socialization. The process of acquir-

ing a system of values is influenced by a variety of

factors, one of which is the array of individuals who

are influential in the acquisition process itself.

Individuals primarily socialized by a single person

should reflect values similar to those of the socializer

due to the heavy influence of that individual (Levin &

Arluke, 1983). Conversely, individuals socialized by

several persons should have a more diffuse set of

values, reflecting socialization from a number of in-

dividuals. Thus, children who are socialized primarily

by their mothers should have values which are closer to









those of their mothers than the values of children who

have been socialized by a variety of people. On the

other hand, the values of children of employed mothers

should reflect the input from a number of caretakers.

Values themselves may be difficult to identify.

Some values are manifested in the attitudes one ex-

presses (Kluckhohn, 1961). One way to estimate the

influence of parental values on children's values is to

compare the congruence of attitudes expressed by parents

with those expressed by their children.

Theoretically, it has been posited that the mother-

child relationship is of primary importance in

children's evolution of a system of values. Recall

Erikson's (1982) emphasis on the influence of a stable

and strong relationship between parents and their

children as central to the development of a healthy per-

sonality. Any change in the mother-child relationship

may have consequences for children in the degree to

which the attitudes they express are influenced by

those of their mothers.

Sex Role Socialization

Sets of behaviors and attitudes defined as ap-

propriate for males and females are called sex roles










(Damon, 1983). Because different expectations are held

for males and females (McIntire, 1983), an important part

of socialization for children is the acquisition of an

appropriate sex-role orientation. Social learning

theorists argue that sex role orientation is acquired

through a number of ways including observation of others,

role modeling, and reinforcement of sex-appropriate be-

haviors (Marcus & Overton, 1978; Mischel, 1970). Children

often model their behaviors and attitudes after individu-

als of the same sex with whom they identify. A number of

theorists speculate that parents are the most influential

of these role models (Damon, 1983). As children identify

with their parents, they absorb the attitudes and be-

haviors which they have observed in them, especially

the parent of the same sex (McIntire, Hass, & Dreyer,

1972).

Social learning theorists also point out that

children acquire their sex role orientations from

sources other than parents. Among others, Kagan (1975)

has noted the importance of other children and adults

to whom children look as role models. It can be said

that, to an important extent, children acquire their

sex role orientations from their parents in two ways:









observing the models their parents present, and observing

role models their parents permit them to be exposed to.

Maternal employment should also affect this process of

acquisition in that sons and daughters of working mothers

are presented with a different role model than children

of nonworking mothers. This should also influence

children's sex role orientations.

Mothers who remain at home present a particular

maternal image for their children. For daughters, the

relationship is fairly obvious. Mothers who do not work

represent what may be termed a traditional model for their

daughters. Assuming paternal employment, sons also re-

ceive a traditional model as fathers go outside the home

to work.

The situation for families in which the mother is

employed is somewhat different. Sons and daughters are

presented with a different role model. Rather than the

traditional division of labor between mother and father,

in this case the parents' models represent an overlap in

the instrumental and affective roles. Employed mothers

present their children with different models that should

in turn affect the sex role orientation of children.

There may also be other consequences of maternal










employment for the sex role orientation of children,

some of which may be especially important for sons or

daughters. Also, in families where mothers are employed,

children are cared for by substitutes. This changes

the situation with regard to other sources of role

models to whom children are exposed. Children in group

care settings encounter a wider variety of peers, some

of whom may behave in ways parents would prefer them

not to model. This exposure to a greater range of peer

relationships may have important consequences,

especially for sons. Also, because of the different

sex role models working mothers present for their chil-

dren, the sex role orientation of these children

--especially daughters--may differ from that of

children whose mothers are not employed.

Impact of Maternal Employment on
Behavior, Especially of Sons

It has been established that males exhibit certain

characteristics differently than females (Block, 1983).

For example, male children demonstrate higher levels of

aggressive behavior than females (Roopnarine, 1984).

There is also evidence that the pressure to exhibit sex-

appropriate behaviors is stronger for males than for










females (Currant, Dickson, Anderson, & Faulkner, 1979).

It is more acceptable for a girl to be a "tomboy" than

it is for a boy to be a "sissy."

One way boys meet this pressure is through phys-

ical activities (Lever, 1978). Some of this sex-

appropriate activity is channeled in socially acceptable

directions, such as little league sports. However, other

activities are socially unacceptable according to adult

standards, such as disruptive behavior. Such positive

and negative behaviors may be equally praiseworthy in

the social world of youna males. Furthermore, research

has shown that children in daycare settings are more

desirous of peer acceptance--i.e., peer-oriented--than

those raised primarily by their mothers (Moore, 1975;

Schachter, 1981). Thus, boys who spend a significant

amount of time in daycare centers may adopt more of

these aggressive behaviors than boys who are more

heavily socialized by their mothers (McIntire 1983).

When socialization involves persons other than

parents, as in the case of maternal employment,

children are apt to experience more exposure to peers.

In this case, a greater proportion of children's sex

role orientations is derived from peers (Kagan, 1975).










The aggressive and impulsive behaviors exhibited by

males deviate more from those that are defined as

socially acceptable by adults than the behaviors exhib-

ited by girls (Block, 1983). To the extent that males'

socialization is influenced by their same-sex peers,

also less conforming than their female counterparts,

the task of socialization in behaviors appropriate by

adult standards is more difficult.

Impact of Maternal Employment on Sex
Roles, Especially of Daughters

This chapter has presented the theoretical argu-

ment that the mother-child relationship is a powerful

force in the socialization of children. Another varia-

ble which is important in the socialization of children,

especially with regard to sex roles, is the role models

that parents present to their children (Damon, 1983).

Theorists have speculated that, due to the particular

importance of the same-sex parent as a role model,

mothers should be more influential on their daughters

than on their sons.

Maternal employment, which alters the mother-child

relationship, may also alter the influence of mothers

as sex-role models for their daughters. However, the








circumstance of surrogate care itself may ameliorate

some of the loss. Most substitute caregivers, such as

babysitters and daycare center workers, are females.

Caregivers are often role models to the children they

supervise. Because most of them are women, this may be

particularly important for girls. In effect, these work-

ers provide daughters with a role model of working women,

relatively the same role model as their employed mothers.

Thus, the loss of influence that employed mothers have on

their daughters' sex role orientations may be made up, at

least partially, by their surrogates--employed women them-

selves.

It has been assumed that mothers have an important

role in the socialization of their children. Children

who have been socialized primarily by their mothers

should be different in some aspects from those who have

been socialized by a number of persons. These effects

may vary according to the age and sex of the child. Such

effects should be evident in various beliefs and behavior

patterns expressed by children. First, nonworking

mothers should be more influential than working mothers

in the attitudes expressed by their children. Evidence

of this would be a higher degree of congruence between










the attitudes of children and their nonemployed

than among children and their employed mothers.

socialization experiences should also result in

servable differences in their behaviors and sex

orientations.


mothers

Their

ob-

role













CHAPTER III
REVIEW OF RESEARCH



Increased numbers of mothers have moved into the

labor force in recent years. Researchers have responded

by investigating numerous aspects of the issue. Two sum-

maries provide an overview of the research which has at-

tempted to link maternal employment with various outcomes

for children. In addition to serving as an introduction

to the topic, some methodological shortcomings are also

identified in these reviews. Following these summaries,

particular pieces of research that provide insight for

the present analysis are discussed.

Research Summaries

Hoffman (1974), synthesizing the body of research

through the first part of the 1970s, points to several

important theoretical and methodological shortcomings.

Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) followed up Hoffman's

work by providing an assessment of the progress made

through the 1970s and into the 1980s. In so doing, they

indicate directions for the next decade.









Research to 1974: Hoffman's Review

Hoffman's (1974) work identifies research findings

and spells out some theoretical and methodological short-

comings of those findings. She also suggested avenues

for future research.

To organize the research, Hoffman developed five

hypotheses which have been the concerns of most of the

studies.

1. Working mothers provide different role models

from nonworking mothers.

2. Employment affects the mothers' emotional states

positively or negatively (satisfaction versus role

strain and guilt), which in turn affects the mother-child

relationship.

3. Demands of both job and home as well as the

emotional state of the working mother affect child-

rearing practices.

4. Working mothers provide less adequate supervision

for their children than do nonworking mothers.

5. The working mothers' absence results in emotional

and possibly cognitive deprivation for children.

Hoffman concluded that, although the evidence is

sketchy and inadequate, there is some support for the









first four propositions. The fifth was not supported by

research findings.

Hoffman identified three dependent variables on

which most of the studies have been centered:

1. The children's social attitudes and values;

2. The children's general mental health and adjust-

ment, with particular emphasis on the degree of independence;

3. The cognitive abilities, motivation, and intel-

lectual performance of children.

In nearly all cases, the single independent variable

has been maternal employment. She argued that such sim-

plistic research problems were not likely to produce

realistic estimates of the relationships.

Hoffman's review suggests the need for clearer speci-

fication of variables--independent, dependent, and control.

She also suggests that future research be guided by

theory. Extensions of current understandings may best

be accomplished through three changes in research

strategy. A more detailed specification of maternal em-

ployment variables will provide greater insight regarding

any effect of maternal employment. Further attention

should be given to increasing the range of possible out-

comes for children including attitudes and behaviors.










There is also a need to more fully examine the effects

that such covariates as social class may have on out-

comes for children.

Research to 1982: Bronfenbrenner and Crouter

Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) reviewed psycho-

logical and sociological research on maternal employment

and children in 1982. They divided the literature into

items published before and after 1960. This date was

selected for two reasons. Around that time, the women's

movement was beginning to have some influence on labor

decisions of women. Also, researchers were then able to

crystallize issues of concern regarding maternal employ-

ment and its various consequences.

The authors suggest directions that future inquiries

should take, both methodologically and substantively.

They note that most of the research to date has focused

on just two issues:

1. The comparison of characteristics of children

whose mothers work with those whose mothers do not work;

2. The impact of work on the attitudes and actions

of working mothers.

According to Bronfenbrenner and Crouter, the problem

with such studies is that they appear to assume that











families live in a social vacuum, unaffected by outside

influences. In the future, they suggest a focus on the

family milieu and other broader aspects of the environ-

ment which surround children.

Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) also point out a

number of variables that might mediate any impact of

maternal employment, one or more of which are usually

missing from analyses. Included among them are sex and

age of children, race, family structure, social class,

and maternal attitude toward work.

There is an especially strong need for a fuller speci-

fication of the social class variable. In almost all

social science research, social class seems influential.

Family income, one aspect of social class, shifts upward

to some degree when a second paycheck is added to the

family income. This factor may not affect all families in

the same way. Benefits of the additional income may be

greater or different according to the family. Rather than

using a single measure of class such as income, the

authors suggest inclusion of such factors as the educa-

tion of both parents, occupation, and proportional contri-

butions to the family income. By combining a number of










factors for a more detailed measure of class, Bronfen-

brenner and Crouter (1982) predict that the importance

of this variable may become clearer.

Another important consideration is the possible

existence of delayed impact on the children. While

longitudinal studies are ideally suited to this purpose,

cross-sectional studies of late adolescents or young

adults may provide considerable insight. Studies

examining adolescents in the context of their mothers'

work history may be particularly illuminating in tracing

relationships between stages of children's lives and

impacts of maternal employment. Use of such data sets

provides one way of charting variations among children

according to the extent to which their mothers were gain-

fully employed during various periods in their lives.

The guidelines suggested by Bronfenbrenner and

Crouter, along with those of Hoffman (1974), provide

direction for this analysis. The data set (U.S. Dept.

of Education, 1980) enables one to address a number of

methodological problems discussed by these reviews. The

present study was able to use several control variables

in addition to those which measure the extent of

maternal employment. Furthermore, the measure of social










class used in this analysis (see Chapter IV) is a com-

posite variable that includes a number of items. Also,

this study was able to explore the relationship between

maternal employment and its outcomes for children on the

basis of the age of children during mothers' employment.

Various work patterns may affect preschool children in

different ways or degrees than they affect adolescents.

There is also the possibility of delayed effects. By

studying outcomes for high school students on the basis

of past maternal employment history, it is possible to

examine differences among students whose mothers have

worked throughout their lives and those whose mothers

have more recently entered the labor force. Another

consideration is the extent of employment. Logic sug-

gests that part time work while children are in school

will have a different effect from full time employment.

Attitudinal Development

One hypothesis predicts that, as maternal employment

increases, the influence of maternal attitudes on those

of the children should decrease. This hypothesis is

based on the assumption that, as maternal employment in-

creases, the relationship between mothers and their

children will change. Most research has focused on









various ways in which maternal employment affects the

general orientation of children, such as peer versus adult

orientation. While such findings do not directly reflect

on maternal influence, they do suggest that the focus of

influence may vary according to maternal work patterns.

When children are focused more toward one group than

another (parents or peers), that group should be more

influential in their attitude orientations.

Moore (1975) used a longitudinal study to investigate

possible impacts of maternal employment on children. He

divided 167 middle-class children into two groups. One

group had been in the care of someone other than their

mother for at least 25 hours per week for a minimum of

one year before age 5. Moore defined these children as

having been diffusely mothered. The second group com-

prised children who were cared for solely by their

mothers up to age 5. This second group he termed

exclusively mothered. The children were interviewed at

the ages of 6, 7, 9, and 15. Observations were also

conducted at these times. Mothers of children in both

groups were interviewed when their children were age

6, 7, 8, and 15.

Moore's findings indicated that children reared








exclusively appeared more adult-like in their behaviors.

For example, they tended to be more conforming,

restrained, and fastidious than the diffusely mothered

group. However, these children also appeared more de-

pendent on adults; they seemed more anxious to win the

approval of the teacher and more concerned about being

reprimanded by their parents.

Moore's (1975) findings were corroborated by Schach-

ter (1981). She focused on differences between toddlers

with employed mothers and those with nonemployed mothers;

32 children whose mothers were full time employees were

matched with 38 children whose mothers did not work out-

side the home. The groups were compared on cognitive

development using a Stanford-Binet test series. Observa-

tions provided evidence as to the social development of

the children. Emotional development was estimated through

the use of Q-Sort Ideal Comparisons measures.

Schachter (1981) found, as did Moore (1975), that

the exclusively reared children generally interacted

more often with adults than those who were diffusely

socialized. According to Schachter, these results are

consistent with previous research. On the other hand,

older children with employed mothers and/or those in









daycare (many of whose mothers work) were found to be

more peer-oriented.

Ragozin (1980) conducted naturalistic observations

of 20 middle-class daycare children and 17 middle-class

home-reared children. All of the subjects were aged

17-20 months. The author observed the children in

strange situation settings in order to estimate attach-

ment to the mother. She found that those children in

daycare settings exhibited more avoidance behaviors upon

reunion with their mothers than the home-reared children.

Furthermore, the daycare group demonstrated more

generalized responses to adults. Ragozin hypothesized

that this may be due to the children having fewer adult

contacts.

Gold and Andres (1980) compared 379 ten-year-old

children on the basis of maternal work patterns. They

contrasted groups of Canadian francophone children from

working-class and middle-class backgrounds on a variety

of characteristics. One area of investigation was

parental ratings of the children's personality adjustment.

Their research findings indicated that middle-class

mothers who were employed described their daughters as

more cooperative than those of mothers who were not









employed. Within the working-class group, employed

mothers characterized their daughters as more outgoing

and independent than unemployed mothers. Also, among

working-class families, mothers who were employed were

less likely to describe their sons as domineering.

Maternal employment had no apparent effect on fathers'

ratings of their children or on the type and number of

problems parents reported having with their children.

Gold and Andres (1980) also reported a relation-

ship between class and satisfaction within employment

categories. Middle-class mothers who worked appeared

to be the most contented group. This finding was

similar to those of their earlier study (1978A). Also,

as in the 1978A study, middle-class mothers who worked

seemed to be the most satisfied. Middle-class non-

working women appeared to be the least content. The

sons of employed working-class women were less content

than middle-class sons or working-class sons whose

mothers did not work.

The conclusions of Hoffman (1979) that social class

is influential in determining how children are affected

by maternal employment provide one explanation for the

findings of Gold and Andres. Hoffman reviewed a number









of findings which implied that the impact of maternal

employment for male children was mediated by class.

Working-class males whose mothers are employed seem to

have lower levels of admiration for their fathers than

those whose mothers do not work or than those of higher

class. The presumption she made was that there is a

negative assessment by the sons of the fathers' success

in the provider role.

Propper (1972) found that high school students with

working mothers reported more areas of disagreement with

their parents than those whose mothers did not work.

Her sample consisted of 229 secondary school students.

The questionnaire focused on student activities and

parent-child relationships. Propper found indications

of greater numbers of disagreements with parents among

the group whose mothers were employed. However, there

seemed to be no difference in the perception of close-

ness or in the feelings of affection between parents

and their children in the two groups.

During the preschool years, children whose mothers

work exhibit less attachment to their mothers than

children of nonworking mothers. These children also seem

to display stronger peer orientations than those whose








mothers did not work. Regarding school-age children, the

parent-child relationship does not appear fundamentally

different from that of families where the mother is not

employed. Although high school students with working

mothers indicate more areas of disagreement with their

parents, they do not report feeling less close to them.

Thus, there is little evidence of lasting differences in

the relationships between parents and their children on

the basis of maternal employment patterns.

Behavioral Differences

Another concern of the study reported here is that

there may be behavioral differences in children on the

basis of maternal employment patterns. More specifically,

children of working women should exhibit more behaviors

which are defined as less socially acceptable behaviors

than children of nonworking women. This may be

especially important for sons. Previous research sug-

gests that such outcomes may occur before children are

of school age; however, as time passes, the manifesta-

tions of these early differences become more difficult to

estimate.

Vlietstra (1981) used teacher ratings and observa-

tions to contrast the behaviors of 17 half-day students

with those of 20 full-day students. All children were









between the ages of 2.5 and 4.5 years. The full-day

students' mothers worked, whereas those attending only

part-time did so for enrichment purposes only. Her

findings indicated that full-day children exhibited more

active and aggressive behavior. On the other hand, the

half-day students seemed to be more cooperative and

less disruptive in the classroom setting.

Schachter (1981) found that children of working

mothers were generally more peer-oriented. They were

approached more often by their peers and engaged in

physical interaction more often than other children.

Teachers rated the children of working women as being more

independent and less jealous than children of nonworking

mothers.

D'Amico, Haurin, and Mott (1983) reported only

sporadic associations between maternal employment and

educational outcomes for children. They used two sub-

samples drawn from the National Longitudinal Surveys of

Labor Market Experience. These consist of two surveys,

one for young men taken in 1966 with repeated inter-

views until 1981; this survey was begun when these males

were between the ages of 16 and 18. The other survey

comprised women aged 14-17 and was administered in 1968;









the group was followed until 1983. The subsamples

used by D'Amico et al. (1983) were two sets of matched

pairs. One was a group of 784 mothers and daughters;

the other was a group of 768 mothers and sons. They

were repeatedly interviewed between 1968 and 1978.

The findings of this latter study suggest that the

most pervasive impact of maternal employment on the

educational attainment of children seemed to be during

the preschool years. When the mother was employed

during the preschool years, there was a lower probability

of the son's completing high school. However, as mothers

worked a greater number of years from the birth of the

first child, the likelihood that the sons would complete

high school increased. D'Amico et al. also found that,

if maternal employment does affect academic performance,

it does so only modestly and indirectly. The findings

were consistent for males and females.

During the preschool years, children exhibit dif-

ferences in behavior according to the extent of their

mothers' work. Children of working women seem more

aggressive, independent, and peer-oriented. Beyond this

period in children's lives, there are no clear indica-

tions of such differences. The analysis presented in










this work, using the High School and Beyond (U.S.

Dept. of Education, 1980) data, may provide some insight

into differences in children during their adolescent

years.

Sex Role Orientation

Another concern of the present research is whether

maternal employment affects the sex role orientations

of children. More precisely, children of working women

should reflect a different sex role orientation from

that evidenced by children of nonworking women. Research

on this relationship has provided mixed results. Unfor-

tunately, there is no research on this subject which

particularly examines effects on preschool children.

Gold and Andres (1978B) found that 10-year-old boys

of working-class mothers experience greater difficulty in

sex role identification than those whose mothers did not

work. These boys were more often described negatively

by their fathers, had poorer grades and peer relations,

and were rated more shy and nervous than sons of

nonworking mothers.

Gold and Andres (1978A) studied a group of 253

students aged 14-16. Their analysis was limited to in-

tact nuclear families. Members of the sample were









categorized into working and middle class. They were

also grouped according to maternal employment status,

employed or nonemployed. There was some indication

that the sex role concepts of children of working

mothers were more androgynous than those of nonworking

mothers. However, the difference was not as strong

as had been found in a previous study (Gold & Andres,

1978B) with 10-year-old children.

Banducci (1967) studied a sample of 3,014 high

school seniors. He utilized the school records of the

group and also administered questionnaires to them.

His findings provide information regarding academic

achievement and aspirations and plans for future employ-

ment. His results indicated that teenage girls with

working mothers were more likely to report future

plans that included combining career and family. The

D'Amico et al. (1983) study also drew some conclusions

on the impact of maternal employment on the career

orientations of sons and daughters. Their findings

indicated that maternal employment during daughters'

preschool years was associated with those girls who ex-

pressed a more traditional orientation. However, there

seemed to be little impact on long-range career plans.










D'Amico et al. (1983) noted that, "more surprising is the

absence of any strong or pervasive role-modeling influ-

ences, especially on daughters' work-related plans and

ambitions than we might have expected" (p. 163).

For males, there seemed to be an inverse relationship

between work status of the mother during the preschool

years and adult occupational status.

Hoffman (1979), in surveying the literature on

maternal employment, noted the importance of considering

findings in the context of concurrent changes in society.

Her analysis suggests that the literature provides a

fairly clear indication that daughters of working mothers

differ from those of mothers who stay at home in several

important ways. She has concluded that daughters of

employed women hold the female role in higher esteem

than daughters of women who do not work. They also

appear to have higher levels of social, personal, and

educational adjustment. Daughters of women who work tend

to be higher achievers and exhibit more positive adjust-

ments than daughters of nonworking women. According to

Hoffman, this may also be the case foi males. There is

some implication that sons of working mothers are better









adjusted and higher achievers than those whose mothers

stay home.

While some studies have reported differences in

career orientation on the basis of maternal employment,

the majority of research findings do not support this

relationship. Daughters have been found to exhibit more

positive personal and social adjustment when their mothers

work. Sons and daughters seem more androgynous in their

orientations if their mothers are employed. However,

research suggests that this may diminish with time. The

analysis described in this paper explores the nature of

these relationships more fully.

This review of past research has highlighted find-

ings in two ways. Research summaries including research

through the 1970s summarized findings and identified

deficiencies of numerous studies. Specifically, three

methodological criticisms of previous research in these

summaries were addressed using the data in High School

and Beyond (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1980). Many studies

have been limited in that a single measure of maternal

employment has been the only independent variable. This

study made use of a number of influential variables,

permitting a fuller specification of relationships among









them. Second, the measure of social class used in the

present study was a combination of a number of factors

rather than the single estimate used in most other

analyses. Third, an examination of the High School and

Beyond data permitted an analysis of maternal employment

patterns and their effects on children through various

periods in children's lives rather than effects at

only one point in time.















CHAPTER IV
METHODOLOGY



It has been posited that the relationship between

mothers and children is crucial to the children's sociali-

zation. The importance of this relationship begins at

birth and continues through adolescence (Erikson, 1950,

1982). If the relationship between working mothers and

their children is different from that established by non-

working mothers and their children, there should be

observable differences between children on the basis of

maternal work patterns.

However, empirical studies to date have largely

failed to support this line of reasoning. It has been

suggested by a number of experts (among whom Bronfenbren-

ner & Crouter, 1982; Hoffman, 1979) that various methodo-

logical issues must be resolved in future studies. The

present analysis tests certain hypotheses drawn from the

theory presented in Chapter II. This study also responds

to various shortcomings of past research which were










discussed in Chapter III. This was accomplished by using

the data set of the U.S. Dept. of Education, High

School and Beyond (1980). This data set is drawn from

a national sample of high school students. The set

also contains information regarding maternal work history

and a multifaceted operationalization of the social class

variable.

This chapter formally presents the specific research

hypotheses of this study, followed by the operationaliza-

tions of variables used to test the hypotheses. The items

drawn from the data set are also discussed. Finally, the

specific methods used in this analysis are reviewed.

Hypotheses

The theory reviewed in Chapter II suggests a range

of relationships from which testable hypotheses might be

drawn. This study explored two of these. One hypothesis

links maternal work patterns to the extent to which

mothers influence the attitudes of their children. The

other hypothesis explores effects of maternal work pat-

terns on school-related behaviors and one aspect of

children's sex role orientations.









Maternal Influence on Children's Attitudes

Maternal influence is measured by the extent to

which mothers' attitudes are congruent with children's

attitudes. Mothers should be more influential in shaping

children's attitudes when they are more constantly in-

volved in the children's socialization (Kagan, 1984).

Conversely, when socialization is divided among a number

of caretakers, as in the case of employed mothers, the

influence of each on the process should be less.

Hypothesis 1. The attitude congruence between

mothers and children regarding maternal employment

diminishes as maternal employment increases.

The model used to test this hypothesis included

a number of covariates which other research has linked

to the relationship between maternal employment and

maternal influence on the attitudes of children. These

include: students' sex (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter,

1982), social class (Bloom-Feshbach, Bloom-Feshbach,

& Heller, 1982), academic achievement (Messaris &

Hornik, 1983), and peer affiliation (Berndt, 1983)

(see Figure 1).









o Maternal Attitude

I ISex of Student


SSocial Class.F

I Grades. --


Siblings at Home
i I I


SRarely Talks on
SPhone
I
ITalks LT Once
SWeek


Talks Once/
1TwicE Week


II

II4


SI I


Maternal Attitude t 1I
ternal Employment Preschool
Preschool
Il,


Maternal Employment Ij
Preschool

Maternal Employment ,\ Child's
Elementary School Attitude

Maternal Employment
High School |


Maternal Attitude A (- --
Maternal Employment
Elementary School

Maternal Attitude
Maternal Employment
High School



= Relationships tested


= Relationships included in
but not tested


this model


-------- = Relationships assumed but not tested


Figure 1. Relationship of the Congruence of Maternal
Attitudes and Those of Children on the
Basis of Maternal Employment.


~1


!









This model also contained three interaction terms,

each of which measures the influence of the cross-product

of two independent variables on the dependent variable

(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). In this model, the inter-

action terms test the extent to which three maternal

employment variables--mothers' work during their

children's preschool years, elementary school years, and

high school years--affect the influence of mothers' atti-

tudes on those of their children. The hypothesis pre-

dicted that the influence of maternal attitudes would

diminish as the amount of time mothers were employed

increased. Significance of the interaction terms would

also provide support for the hypothesis.

Another test of this hypothesis compared the

influence of those mothers who worked full time through-

out their children's lives with the influence of mothers

who had never worked. This type of comparison is called

a test of extreme cases. According to the hypothesis,

the influence of mothers who have never worked should

be significantly stronger than that of mothers who have

worked full time throughout their children's lives.










Effects on Children's Behaviors and Attitudes

Chapter II presented a line of reasoning which led

to the prediction that maternal employment affects be-

haviors and attitudes of children. One premise of

social learning theory is that children are socialized

by their role models and their observations of others

(Kagan, 1975). Children whose mothers are employed are

exposed to different role models than those children

whose mothers are not employed. Children of working

women spend an important part of their time with and are

socialized in part by caregivers other than their mothers.

These children also spend an important part of their

time in the company of their peers, who also contribute

to their socialization. On the other hand, children whose

mothers do not work are socialized primarily by their

mothers. The differing nature of these socializing

experiences, caregivers and peers versus mothers, mani-

fests different behaviors and attitudes in children.

The rationale on which the subhypotheses are based sug-

gests the importance of the child's sex. The behaviors

of sons should be more affected by maternal work pat-

terns than the behaviors of daughters. Daughters should

be influenced more than sons by the role models presented










by their parents. These subhypotheses will test males

and females separately.

Hypothesis 2. Particular behaviors and attitudes

of children will differ on the basis of their mothers'

employment patterns:

A. Maternal employment patterns directly affect the

degree to which children exhibit school-related behaviors

which are defined as not acceptable by the schools.

B. Maternal employment patterns affect the sex

role orientations expressed by children.

Children's behavior. In Chapter II, it was reasoned

that, as a portion of socialization was accomplished by

peers rather than mothers, children would reflect this

in their behaviors; that is, children socialized in part

by peers would be more conforming to standards set by

peers than those set by adults (McIntire et al., 1972).

Boys exhibit more aggressive behavior (Mischel, 1970)

whereas girls' behaviors appear more passive and

compliant (Duvall & Miller, 1985). Thus, changes in

behavior which are affected by these different patterns

of socialization due to maternal work patterns may be

more apparent in boys than in girls. Figure 2 presents

the model used to test Hypothesis 2A.























Social Class -
T
Grade _

Siblings at
Home

Rarely Talks
on Phone-

Talks LT
Once Week
I
Talks Once/
Twice Week


Maternal Employment
Preschool


Maternal Employment
Elementary School ) Behavior
S- -- -- Index

Maternal Employment
High School


= Relationships tested

= Relationships included in this model
but not tested

-------- = Relationships assumed but not tested


Figure 2. Relationship of Maternal Employment to Non-
conforming Behavior Index--Males and Females
Tested Separately.


I


I










Previous research suggests that a number of factors

may be important in explaining the relationship between

maternal employment and nonconforming behavior. These

include sex (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter, 1982), social

class (Bloom-Feshbach et al., 1983), family size

(D'Amico et al., 1983), academic achievement (Heynes, 1982),

and peer affiliation (Jurich & Andrews, 1984).

Children's sex role orientation. Sex role orienta-

tion was defined in Chapter II as one's beliefs concern-

ing behaviors and attitudes appropriate for males and

females. One way in which sex role orientation is

acquired is through role models. Children's beliefs as

to appropriate behaviors for males and females are

based in part on their observations of the behaviors of

those around them, particularly their parents (Kagan,

1975). Working mothers provide a different role model

for their children than nonworking mothers.

Chapter II also emphasized the importance of the

mother-child bond to children's acquisition of values,

which are manifest in attitudes. It would seem, then, that

working mothers--inasmuch as separation of mothers and

their children weakens the mother-child bond--are less

effective as role models than nonworking mothers.









However, when mothers work, children are placed in the

care of surrogate mothers, usually working women them-

selves. As these caregivers also serve as role models,

some of the loss of the maternal role model of a working

mother may be ameliorated by these surrogates. Figure 3

displays the model used to test Hypothesis 2B.

The research of others has suggested a number of

variables that may further clarify the relationship be-

tween maternal employment and children's sex role orienta-

tions. These include social class (Bloom-Feshbach et

al., 1983), family size (D'Amico et al., 1983), academic

achievement (Heynes, 1982), peer affiliation (Bronfenbren-

ner & Crouter, 1982), and parental attitudes regarding

maternal employment (Reid & Stephens, 1985; Smith & Self,

1980).

A central theme in the theoretical perspectives

from which these hypotheses were drawn is the importance

of the mother-child relationship to children's socializa-

tion. Thus, maternal influence in the socialization

process should diminish as women work more throughout

their children's lives, inasmuch as employment diminishes

the extent to which mothers have primary control in

that process. From this, it can be predicted that the
















Social CT -a

Grad-_

Siblings at HSom



I :l.aschool
Talks
Once W*k / // Age act arriag
S atearaal Employmenc Age at Birth of
Talks On e /L "Elancary School F iro. Chis d
.ict / W/ 2% 7

Matrnal Actitude: / / / /Mat al Emploe
Working ancher as' / as / -- gh School |


zood as aouworkling


others /
/
a eternal / / /ti
aIc work, -women / /
//, /


,aternal Actitude:
WoaMn happier ac home.


= Relationships tested


= Relationships included in
but not tested


this model


-------- = Relationships assumed but not tested


Figure 3.


Relationship of Maternal Employment to the
Sex-Role Orientations of Children--Males
and Females Tested Separately.


- 0-6


C/ I R I


/*









attitudes of mothers who have never worked are more

influential in shaping their daughters' sex role orienta-

tions than the attitudes of mothers who have worked

full time throughout their daughters' lives. This was

tested by comparing the influence of maternal attitudes

toward maternal employment on their daughters' career

orientations for those daughters whose mothers have

never worked, with those of daughters whose mothers

have worked full time throughout the three periods of

their daughters' lives identified in this sample.

The hypotheses specified in this study provided a

range of predictions. They identified behavioral and

attitudinal variations among children on the basis of

maternal employment patterns. These effects were also

predicted to be consistent when the effects of a number

of covariates were accounted for. Such elaboration

required the use of a large and comprehensive data

set which would permit necessary specification.

High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1980)

met these criteria and provided the data for use in

this analysis.









Dependent Variable: Children's Attitudes

Three questions were used as dependent variables to

test the hypothesis which predicted that mothers who were

not employed have more influence on their children's atti-

tudes than mothers who are employed. These questions

asked students about their attitudes regarding working

women.

How do you feel about each of the following state-

ments?

A. A working mother of preschool children can be

just as good a mother as the woman who does not work.

B. It is usually better for everyone involved if the

man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes

care of the home and family.

C. Most women are happiest when they are making a

home and caring for children.


Response options were given in a Likert-type scale:

agree strongly = 1; agree = 2; disagree = 3; disagree

strongly = 4.

Dependent Variable: Children's Behaviors

It has been argued in Chapter II that maternal employ-

ment patterns increase the likelihood of children engaging

in nonconforming behavior; i.e., deviating from socially









approved norms. The dependent variable used to test

this hypothesis was operationalized as an index. This

index was constructed by adding students' scores on three

questions.

Are the following statements about your experiences

in school true or false?

A. I have had disciplinary problems in school during

the last year.

B. I have been suspended or put on probation during

the last year.

C. Every once in a while I cut class.

Response choices were: true = 1; false = 2. The

response of "false" was recorded to zero. By so doing, the

index scores ranged from zero = all false responses to

3 = all true responses. This index provided an ordinal

measure of committal of nonconfirming behavior.

Dependent Variable: Sex Role Orientation

Sex role orientation has been defined as the beliefs

people hold regarding appropriate behaviors for males and

females. One dimension of sex role orientation is career-

ism which may be defined as the extent to which people

wish to delay marriage and family in favor of career

development. Careerism is actually a continuum. For









those who fall on one end, the desire for marriage and

family is already fulfilled or anticipated in the im-

mediate future. Those who fall toward this end of the

continuum express a traditional orientation. Those who

desire to forfeit or delay indefinitely marriage and

family are at the other end of this continuum. Those

who fall toward this end of the continuum express a

career orientation. The longer people choose to delay

these events, the more career-oriented they are assumed

to be. Each indicator was used separately. Students

responded to the following questions:

At what age to do you expect to

A. Get married?

B. Have your first child?

The responses for both questions were in years. In

the original questionnaire, each year was assigned a

value ranging from 3 to 16. These were recorded to the

age they represented. A response code of one was

assigned to those who did not expect to marry or have

children. Even though this group may represent the most

extreme careerists, they had to be dropped from the

analysis. Since marriage and childbirth were not in

their plans, there was no way to legitimately assign









them ages at which they expected these events to take

place. A response originally coded 2 indicated that the

students had already married or had children; they were

assigned an age of 16. Those who responded 30 or older

were assigned an age of 30. The use of adolescents'

expectations regarding their future as measures of

careerism has also been followed by Budd and Spencer

(1984), D'Amico et al. (1983), and Reid and Stephens

(1985).

Independent Variables: Maternal Employment

This analysis was concerned with how maternal employ-

ment might affect children. The theory presented in

Chapter II and pertinent research presented in Chapter

III suggest that effects of maternal employment may vary

with the children's ages during the times when their

mothers work (Reid & Stephens, 1985). Also, the number

of hours worked may be important (Maccoby, 1980; Reid

& Stephens, 1985) to outcomes for children. For

instance, children whose mothers work part time may be

less affected by their mothers' employment than children

whose mothers work full time. The independent variables

in this study permitted such period specification.









The maternal work variables examined the impact of

employment during three periods of time. Each described

the employment pattern during a particular stage in

children's lives. These variables were operationalized

using the following questions asked of parents.

Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during

the period when your son/daughter was in high school?

Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during the

period when your son/daughter was in elementary school?

Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during

the period before your son/daughter was in elementary

school?

The response categories for each of the questions

were: did not work = 1; worked part time = 2; worked full

time = 3.

To summarize, this study contained three maternal

work variables which measured the amount of work mothers

did during the years before their children went to

school, during the years their children were in

elementary school, and during their children's high school

years.











Covariates

Previous research has suggested that a number of

factors may be important to one or more of the

hypotheses in this study. The following covariates were

added to the equations as theory and research dictated.

A number of findings suggest that sex is influential

in determining children's attitudes regarding maternal

employment (Canter & Ageton, 1984; Smith, 1984).

Previous research has also implicated sex of the child as

an important factor in predicting the likelihood of the

commission of nonconforming behaviors (Anolik, 1983;

Felson & Gottfredson, 1984; Hogan & Nookherjee, 1981;

Maccoby, 1980). A number of researchers have found that

patterns of career orientation differ for males and

females (Reid & Stephens, 1985).

This is a dichotomous variable which measures the

sex of students. Females had a value of zero, males a

value of one.

Academic Achievement

Academic achievement has been found to influence

the attitudes of children regarding sex roles (Archer,

1985; Farmer, 1985; Reid & Stephens, 1985; Young, 1983).










There is also evidence to suggest that academic achieve-

ment is related to the likelihood of committing non-

conforming behavior (Hains, 1984; Maccoby, 1980).

Parents were asked to estimate the grades their

children usually received in school. Response

categories represented the mid-points of numerical

ranges of grades of 90-100, 85-89, 80-84, 75-79, 70-74, 65-

69, 60-64, and below 60.

Social Class

Social class has been found to influence the sex

role attitudes of children (Canter & Ageton, 1984; Lueptow,

1980; Vanfossen, 1977). There are also findings

that suggest that social class of the child contributes

to the probability of committing nonconforming behaviors

(Anolik, 1983; Felson & Gottfredson, 1984; Hogan &

Nookherjee, 1981; Maccoby, 1980). A number of research-

ers have found that students' career orientations differ

according to social class (Archer, 1985; Farmer, 1985).

One strength of the data set was the detailed opera-

tionalization of the social class variable. This com-

bines five indicators of class, and includes father's

occupation, father's education, and mother's education.

Income is measured by asking respondents to classify









themselves into one of seven income categories. Another

component of the social class measure was the number of

the following items in the family: daily newspaper,

encyclopedia, typewriter, electric dishwasher, two or

more cars, trucks, etc., more than 50 books, student's

own room, and pocket calculator. Scores on each of

these variables were standardized within grade,

sophomores and seniors, then averaged to produce a

range from -20 to 20. A score of zero would thus

represent the mid-point of the range of values for

this variable. For purposes of this analysis, these

scores were divided by 100 so that the range of this

variable was limited to -20 to 20.

Family Composition

Family composition has been found to be influential

in the sex-role attitudes of children (Smith, 1984).

This variable has also been reported to be influential

in predicting the proneness toward nonconforming

behavior (Hogan & Nookherjee, 1981; Maccoby, 1980).

Family composition was measured by whether or not

the respondent had brothers and/or sisters living in

the same household. While this does not provide a

measure of complete family size, it does indicate whether









or not the responded resided as an only child in the home

at the time of the survey. The response of "false"

was coded zero, and "true" responses were given a value

of one.

Peer Affiliation

Previous research (Kagan, 1984) has shown that peer

influence may play a major role in determining the atti-

tudes and behaviors expressed by children, especially

teenagers. Young (1983) and Archer (1985) found that

peer relationships played an important role in the devel-

opment of sex role attitudes. Maccoby (1980) and

Jurich andAndrews (1984) reported findings that suggested

the importance of peers in the behaviors of children.

Although peer embeddedness is usually estimated

on the basis of self-report (Berndt, 1983), such meas-

ures represent only the respondents' impressions of

their own level of affiliation. Another way of assessing

levels of embeddedness is to compare students on a par-

ticular behavior that suggests the extent of involve-

ment with peers. This study used the extent to which

respondents talk to their friends on the telephone.

Teenagers who elect to spend more of their free time on










the telephone were presumed to be more involved in those

peer relationships.

Students were asked the following question:

How frequently do you talk to your friends on the

telephone?

Response choices were: rarely; less than once a

week; once or twice a week; daily or almost daily.

The categories of this variable were dummied into

three variables. Previous research suggests that peer af-

filiation has its greatest impact on those who have the

strongest ties to their peers. Thus, the response

"daily or almost daily" was the omitted category.

Maternal Attitudes

With regard to career orientations, several research-

ers (Archer, 1985; Farmer, 1985; Reid & Stephens, 1985;

Smith & Self, 1980; Young, 1983) have found a relation-

ship between the attitudes of one or both parents and

the attitudes and personal aspirations expressed by their

children. Although mothers' attitudes were of interest

in this study, nearly half of the parental respondents

were fathers. Previous studies (Acock & Yang, 1984;

Lueptow, 1980), which show that fathers' attitudes are

similar to those of mothers, legitimate the assumption









that attitudes of husbands are closely aligned with

those of their wives. On this basis, the research re-

ported in this dissertation assumed that paternal atti-

tudes were appropriate proxies for mothers' attitudes.

Three questions in the parents' survey were used to

estimate maternal attitudes. These were identical to

those in the students' questionnaire. Student

responses were used as dependent variables to test

Hypothesis 2B in this research. The precise wording of

these questions may be found on page 60. To review, how-

ever, each asked the respondent's opinion as to an

issue concerning working women. Responses were rated

on a Likert-type scale ranging from "strongly disagree"

to "strongly agree." Recalling the discussion of these

variables earlier in this chapter, one question asked

whether a working mother of preschool children could be

as good a mother as one who does not work. Another asked

if it was usually better for the man to be the achiever

outside the home and the woman to stay inside the home.

The third question asked respondents if they thought

women were usually happier when they stayed at home.









Description of the Data

The nature of the relationships between maternal

employment and various outcomes for children was explored

through the use of multiple regression. This was accom-

plished through use of a data set which made it possible

to observe the effects of factors identified by previous

research and theory.

The Data Set

The data used in this analysis were compiled by the

National Opinion Research Center (NORC) for the National

Center for Educational Statistics. The set, High School

and Beyond (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1980) consists of five

files, two of which were used in this study. These data

were derived from a national sample of high school seniors

and sophomores and their parents, and were collected in the

spring of 1980. The set is the first wave of a national

longitudinal survey of youth.

One of the two files used in this research was the

Student File. A two-stage probability sample was used to

select respondents. A sampling frame of 26,095 schools

led to a subject sample of 1,122 schools; 36 sophomores

and 36 seniors were randomly selected from each school for

participation in the survey. The total sample from which










the subsample used in this study was drawn comprised

28,240 seniors and 30,030 sophomores.

The second file used in this analysis was the Parent

File. This survey was done in autumn 1980 and used a

subsample of parents of respondents in the student survey.

The sampling techniques followed those used in the student

survey. A subsample of 312 schools was drawn from the

1,015 participating schools. From these 312 schools,

parents of 3,654 sophomores and 3,547 seniors participated

in the survey. Data were collected via mailed question-

naires and telephone and personal interviews.

The senior questionnaire consisted of 121 questions

and the sophomore questionnaire contained 114 questions;

89 questions are common to the two groups. The parent-of-

senior survey comprised 72 questions, and the parent-of-

sophomore survey comprised 68 questions; 58 questions

were common to the two groups, and a number of questions

were common to both student and parent questionnaires.

The Student-Parent File

This analysis was based solely on those families who

participated in the student and the parent surveys. This

made it necessary to use the parent file to draw the sub-

sample from the student file. Each participant was










assigned a unique case identifier. This number for the

students corresponded with the assigned number for

parents. The parent and student data were matched and

those students whose parents were also respondents were

drawn from the student file.

Student data were combined with parent data to

create a new file which consisted of parent and student

responses to selected questions. In the newly created

file, therefore, a case consisted of both sets of

responses. This was done so that responses of parents

and their children could be combined. The next section

describes the sociodemographics of subjects in the newly

created file and the cases drawn from it for use in the

present analysis.

Sociodemographics of the Subsample

The subsample used in this analysis comprised 4,544

cases. There were 2,239 sophomore respondents and 2,305

senior respondents. Among the group, 2,265 (49.9%) were

females and 2,121 (46.7%) were males. The remaining 158

(3.4%) of the cases were coded as missing on this varia-

ble. Within the sample, there were 357 black and 3,760

white respondents. These represented 7.9% and 82.75% of

the total, respectively. The remaining 9.35% of the









sample comprised various other ethnic groups. This

analysis was restricted to whites for two reasons. In

many cases, sociological models appear to be race

specific, appropriate for whites but not for blacks or

vice versa. Thus, limiting the analysis to whites

eliminated some interpretive problems. Second, the sub-

sample drawn from the data set contains data on 3,760

whites and 357 blacks. By using whites rather than any

other group, the sample used in the present study was as

large as possible. Using a large sample permitted the

analysis of subgroups.

There is widespread evidence in the literature that

any impact of maternal employment is mediated by the

particular family situation (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter,

1982; Hayes & Kammerman, 1983). More specifically, there

is an indication that these outcomes may depend on

whether or not the children have grown up in an intact

nuclear family or in some other circumstance, such as a

single-parent home. While the nature of each of these

is certainly provocative, time and space require analyses

to be limited in some ways. This research was limited

to intact nuclear families. This was accomplished by

omitting all those in the sample who responded that










they lived with someone other than both their mother and

father.

There were two reasons for this limitation. The

first involved the research design. Any attempt at

explanation involves the rather complicated task of de-

composing a multifaceted relationship. This can be

accomplished more easily if the population of concern is

homogeneous on some factors. Understanding the dynamics

of the situation for any portion of society would cer-

tainly be worthwhile, but important differences--such

as family composition--may influence how maternal employ-

ment affects the family. For example, some studies

suggest that the trauma of divorce may lead to rebellious

behavior in children. By omitting families who had

experienced divorce, the possibility of divorce as a

causal component was eliminated.

The selection of the families to be used in this

study was made on the basis of student responses to the

following question:

Which of the following people live in the same

household with you? A = father, C = mother. Respond-

ents who answered no to either of those questions were

eliminated. Since stepparents were alternative









responses, it was assumed that these responses referred

to natural parents.

Method of Analysis

The statistical method used in this analysis was

multiple regression. This procedure takes into account

the contributions of a number of variables to the

statistical explanation of the dependent variable. This

procedure made it possible to estimate in some detail the

nature and strength of various influences (independent

variables) to a particular outcome (dependent variable).

One assumption of multiple regression is that the

values of the dependent variable are normally distributed

with constant standard deviations at all levels of the

independent variables. Multiple regression is also

based on the assumption that the relationship between

the dependent and independent variables is linear in

form. Put another way, for each unit increase in the

independent variables, there will be a consistent in-

crease in the mean value of the dependent variable. By

examining the influence of the independent variables on

the dependent variable at a number of levels, the

influence of the independent variables on the dependent

variable may be more confidently estimated.









In assuming normality, regression also assumes that

dependent variables are continuous rather than discrete.

As such, scores on a dependent variable could fall any-

where within extremes of a continuum. This condition

allows one to more fully examine the influence of the

predictors. When the dependent variable is discrete,

scores cannot fall anywhere along a continuum but rather

only at specific points along the continuum. In many

variables, these points can only represent approxima-

tions within the response range. Furthermore, the fewer

response choices given for this variable, the cruder

the predictions of the influence of the independent

variables will be. To illustrate, one hypothesis

predicted a relationship between maternal employment pat-

terns and children's attitudes. This was tested using

dependent variables which asked students their opinion

on certain aspects of maternal employment in general.

Students were asked to respond "strongly agree,"

"agree," "disagree," or "strongly disagree" to each of

three questions. In reality, opinions may be

continuous variables, taking an infinite number of









values between absolute agreement and absolute disagree-

ment. When respondents must select a response category

which only approximates their opinion, there is a degree

of error in that response. The farther away from

accuracy one is forced to choose, the greater the error.

One consequence of this is that the influence of inde-

pendent variables can only be roughly estimated and should

be interpreted with caution. One strategy for dealing

with this dilemma is to make use of sophisticated tech-

niques such as logistic regression. This technique

statistically transforms categorical variables into

unbounded continuous dependent variables (Hanushek &

Jackson, 1977).

Another dependent variable in this study was an index

of nonconformity to school policies. The index was

created by adding student responses of "true" or "false"

on three questions. The greater the number of items

to which a student responded "true," the higher the index

score. The additive index provides an ordinal measure

of nonconformity. Due to the dichotomy of each item in

the index, the assumption of the continuous nature of

the dependent variables, discussed above, would not

permit use of the items individually. By adding scores









of three items together, the dependent variable, the

index, has a range of 0-3.

There are actually three independent variables in the

present study: maternal employment during children's

preschool years, maternal employment during children's

elementary school years, and maternal employment during

children's high school years. Each variable has three

categories: no employment, part time employment, and full

time employment. These variables were converted into

dummy variables to be used in regression equations

(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). This was accomplished by

creating a series of new variables, each representing

a category of the maternal work variable. Each case

was assigned a value of one for observations which fall

into a particular category, and a value of zero for the

other newly created variables. In the case of maternal

work during high school, for example, a student whose

mother did not work would be assigned a value of one

for the "no work" variable and a value of zero for the

part time" and "full time" variables. It was necessary

to create new variables for all categories of the varia-

ble of interest minus one, since the final category









represents all those cases coded zero on all other

levels of the variable.

The value for the omitted category is the value of

the intercept in the regression equation. The coef-

ficients of the dummy variables are interpreted as the

difference in the mean of that particular category of the

variable and the mean of the omitted category (Blalock,

1972; Kerlinger & Pedhazur, 1973). These coefficients

provide a measure of influence that a category of the

variable has compared to the influence of the omitted

category on the dependent variable. Using the employment

during high school example, the coefficient for the "no

work" variable is actually the difference in the mean of

the dependent variable when the independent variable is

"no work" compared to the mean of the dependent variable

when the independent work variable is "full time." One

hypothesis predicts that careerism, a component of

children's sex role orientations, will be stronger when

their mothers work. Careerism is operationalized by the

ages at which children expect to marry and bear their

first child. According to the hypothesis, the coef-

ficient for the "no work" category should be negative,

as daughters whose mothers do not work should expect to








marry and have children at a younger age than those

whose mothers work full time. The mean age at marriage

for children whose mothers do not work should be lower

than the mean age at marriage for children whose mothers

work full time. The magnitude of the "no work" coeffici-

ent indicates the strength of this category relative to

the "full time work" category. Similarly the coefficient

for the part time variable is the difference of means

between part time and full time work on the dependent

variable. The significance of these were tested using

t-tests.

In this study, the "full time work" category was the

omitted group for each of the work variables. Since the

concern of this research was the effect of maternal employ-

ment, comparisons of the effect of full time work to other

employment patterns were of the greatest interest. Sup-

pressing the category "full time work" provided estimates

of change in the dependent variables resulting from a

decrease in the extent of maternal employment. Alterna-

tive strategies for analyzing nominal data include using

F-tests for equality of means at each level of the inde-

pendent variable or treating the work variables as

ordinal, enabling estimates of the effect of change

throughout the range of the work variables.










One hypothesis predicted that the influence of

mothers' attitudes on those of their children would be

mediated by maternal employment. Recall from the discus-

sion of hypotheses in Chapter IV that this was tested

using three variables identical in the parent and

student questionnaires. To examine this, it was necessary

to assess the extent to which mothers' influence differed

according to the extent of their employment after taking

into account the influence of their attitude alone and the

influence of their employment patterns alone. Interaction

terms measure the change in the relationship between one

independent variable and the dependent variable controlling

for another independent variable. This is done by comput-

ing the cross-product of the two independent variables

(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). Significant interaction terms

would provide additional support for the hypothesis;

that is, the combined effect of maternal employment and

maternal attitudes should have a significant effect on

children's attitudes beyond their separate influences.

Logic of the Analysis

This study attempted to explain the extent to which

maternal employment contributes to the explanation of par-

ticular attitudes and behaviors of high school students.










Given the complexity of human behavior, it is unlikely

that a single element fully accounts for any single out-

come. Therefore, estimating the contribution of a

single variable to a particular outcome necessitates

taking into account the ways in which a number of factors

affect the dependent variable.

Each of the models in this study was initially exam-

ined with the work variables entered into the equation

first. This made it possible to estimate the relation-

ship between the dependent variables and maternal employ-

ment alone, and also to examine the relationships in the

full models. A bivariate relationship that does not

change as control variables are introduced is an indica-

tion that the control variables are not influential in

the model. The Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 1979)

provides the sums of squares in additive form and also as

the unique contribution of each variable in the equation.

By comparing these sums of squares it was possible to com-

pare the influence of a variable dependent on its order

of entry and also on its unique contribution. A variable

may contribute substantially to a model when added first,

but if its strength diminishes when other variables are

considered, this would suggest that there is little





84



practical contribution of this variable to the model.

On the other hand, if the contribution of a variable to

the model does not change according to its placement in

the equation, the coefficient for that variable repre-

sents its independent contribution to an explanation of

change in the dependent variable net of the effects of

the other variables in the model.














CHAPTER V
FINDINGS



To recapitulate, this research explored possible im-

pacts of maternal employment on children within the frame

of two hypotheses. The first predicted that, as mothers

spend a larger share of their time engaged in gainful

employment, their attitudes would be Jess congruent with

those expressed by their children. Second, some effects

of maternal employment may be contingent upon the sex of

the child. The present study explored two of these ef-

fects. Maternal employment affects the amount of socially

unacceptable behavior exhibited by children, especially

sons. Also, children of working mothers should express

more careerist orientations than children of nonworking

mothers. This should be particularly important for

daughters. The sample on which the analysis was based

is first described; then the results of the tests for each

of the hypotheses are presented.










Sample Characteristics

The first tables in this chapter summarize charac-

teristics of the sample used in the analysis. Table

5-1 presents the means and standard deviations for all

variables other than the three maternal employment

variables. Tables 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4 describe in detail

the work patterns of the mothers in the sample. Table 5-5

presents zero order correlations for all of the variables.

The subsample used in this study consists of 48.6%

females and 51.4% males. Students were asked to report

their average grades in percentages. The mean score on

this variable was 81.2, interpreted as 81.2%.

The social class scores were standardized within

each grade level. This was done by the U.S. Dept. of

Education (1980) in High School and Beyond. The

average score of .966 with a range of -2C to 20 re-

flects this standardization process. The standard

deviation of this variable was 7.076. A major short-

coming of previous research in this area has been the

limited operationalization of the social class variable.

The data set enabled this study to examine families

from every social class group in a single analysis.









Table 5-1. Means and Standard Deviations (SD) of
Variables.



Variables N Mean SD


Independent Variables
STUDENTS:
Sex (females=0, males=l)
Grades in school (in %)
Social class (-20 to 20)
Siblings in house
(false=0, true=l)
Talk to friends on telephone
Rarely talks on phone
Talks less than once week
Talks once/twice week

PARENTS:
*Working mother as good as non-
working (l=st agree, 4=st
disagree)
*Men work women stay home (l=st
agree, 4=st disagree)
*Women usually happier at home
l=st agree, 4=st disagree)

Dependent Variables
**Working mothers as good as non-
working (l=st agree, 4=st
disagree)
**Men work and women stay home
(l=st agree, 4=st disagree)
**Women usually happier at home
(l=st agree, 4=st disagree)
Behavior Index: Males
Females
Age expect marry: Males
Females
Age 1st child: Males
Females


3611
3673
3673

3700

3682
3682
3682


.486
80.62
.966

.850

.187
.261
.513


1789 2.422

1801 2.521

1794 2.468





1789 2.387

1801 2.473


1794
1720
1832
1555
1747
1471
1633


2.523
.682
.493
23.35
22.44
25.06
24.51


*Asked of parents of sophomores only.
**Asked of sophomore respondents only.


.500
8.95
7.076

.361

.221
.234
.288


.840

.834

.767





.848

.830

.745
.852
.729
2.644
2.611
2.754
2.660









Table 5-2.


Cross-Classification of Employment Patterns
for Mothers Who Did Not Work Before Their
Children Were in Elementary School.


During High School
No Part Full Row N
work time time Row %


During N N N
Elementary % % %
School

No work 813 434 213 1460
35.53 18.97 9.31 63.81

Part time 63 272 242 577
2.75 11.89 10.85 25.22

Full time 25 20 206 251
1.09 0.87 9.00 10.79

N 901 726 661 2288


31.73 29.16


39.37










Table 5-3. Cross-Classification of Employment Patterns
for Mothers Who Worked Part-Time Before
Their Children Were in Elementary School.



During High School
No Part Full Row N
work time time Row %


During N N N
Elementary % % %
School

No work 37 13 6 56
8.37 2.94 1.36 12.67

Part time 35 152 89 276
7.92 34.39 20.14 62.44

Full time 8 5 97 110
1.81 1.13 21.95 24.89

N 80 170 192 442
% 18.10 38.46 43.45




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81,9(56,7< 2) )/25,'$



MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT, MOTHERING
AND OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN
By
SUSAN HARVEY HOERBELT
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF
PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
1987

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Many people have contributed to this dissertation
and I am grateful to each of them. I would like to thank
the faculty of the Sociology Department at the University
of South Florida. At various times and in various ways,
they have kept me headed in the right direction. The late
Dr. Sol S. Kramer provided the early inspiration for this
research. Drs. Richard Scott and John C. Henretta gave
insight and direction to early drafts of this paper.
Dr. Gerald R. Leslie was my mentor for a number of
years. is such he endured my lack of editorial skills,
my impatience, and my frustrations. I am deeply respect¬
ful and appreciative. Without his unfailing support and
encouragement this dissertation would not be a reality.
My committee members, Drs. Alan Agresti, Constance
Shehan, Joseph Vandiver, and Hernán Vera have been helpful
and supportive throughout the long and frustrating
research process. Dr. Felix Berardo has served as the

Chair of my committee. His support and guidance have
provided the momentum for keeping the project on course
and bringing it to fruition. I am grateful for his help.
My family has remained my source of inspiration
through the joys and frustrations of my education.
There are three men who have endured this learning pro¬
cess with me. To my sons, Bryan and Gregory, and to my
husband, Richard, my thanks and my love.
in

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ii
LIST OF TABLES vi
LIST OF FIGURES viii
ABSTRACT ix
CHAPTERS
IINTRODUCTION 1
Women in the Labor Force 1
Preliminary Statement of the Research
Problem 5
Statement of the Research Strategy 7
IIINFLUENTIAL FACTORS IN SOCIALIZATION
AND CONSEQUENCES FOR CHILDREN 9
The Importance of the Mother Throughout
Stages of Development in Children 10
The Influence of Gender 16
Areas of Socialization 18
IIIREVIEW OF RESEARCH 2 8
Research Summaries 28
Attitudinal Development 34
Behavioral Differences 40
Sex Role Orientation 43
IV

Page
IVMETHODOLOGY 4 8
Hypotheses 49
Dependent Variable: Children's Attitudes. . . 60
Dependent Variable: Children's Behaviors. . . 60
Dependent Variable: Sex Role Orientation. . . 62
Independent Variable: Maternal Employment . . 63
Covariates 64
Description of the Data 70
Method of Analysis 76
Logic of the Analysis 82
VFINDINGS 85
Sample Characteristics 86
Findings: Attitudes Toward Maternal
Employment 101
Findings: Behavioral Outcomes 119
Findings: Career Orientation 124
Maternal Employment and Its Impact on
Children 131
VIDISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS
FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 133
Children's Attitudes 133
Differences in Behavior 134
Maternal Employment and Careerism 135
The Nature of the Data 136
The Nature of the Issue 139
Future Research 148
Conclusions 152
BIBLIOGRAPHY 155
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 166
v

LIST OF TABLES
Table Page
1-1 Annual Rate of Growth of the Civilian
Labor Force by Sex and Age 1975-79 and
Projected to 1995 (in %) 4
5-1 Means and Standard Deviations (SD) of
Variables 87
5-2 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Did Not Work
Before Their Children Were in Elementary
School 88
5-3 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Worked Part
Time Before Their Children Were in
Elementary School 89
5-4 Cross-Classification of Employment
Patterns for Mothers Who Worked Full
Time Before Their Children Were in
Elementary School 90
5-5 Zero Order Correlation Coefficients .... 91
5-6 Regression of Maternal Employment,
Maternal Attitude, and Background
Characteristics on Children's
Attitudes--Partial Regression Coef¬
ficients and Standard Errors 102
5-7 F Values for Interaction Terms of
Maternal Work Categories and Parental
Attitudes on the Attitudes of Their
Children 112
vi

Table
Page
5-8 Extreme Cases of Maternal Employment--
Full Time Throughout Children's Lives
and No Work in Any Period of Children's
Lives--and Background Characteristics
on Children's Attitudes; Correlations,
Means, and Standard Deviations 115
5-9 Regression of Extreme Cases of Maternal
Employment and Background Characteristics
on Children's Attitudes--Partial
Regression Coefficients and Standard
Errors 116
5-10 Regression of Maternal Employment and
Background Characteristics on Behavior
Index for Males and Females--Partial
Regression Coefficients and Standard
Errors 121
5-11 Regression of Maternal Employment and
Background Characteristics on Anticipated
Ages at Marriage and Birth of First Child
for Males, Females Whose Mothers Have
Never Worked, and Females Whose Mothers
Have Worked Full Time Throughout Their
Lives--Partial Coefficients and
Standard Errors 126
Vll

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure Page
1 Relationship of the Congruence of
Maternal Attitudes and Those of Children
on the Basis of Maternal Employment 51
2 Relationship of Maternal Employment to
Nonconfirming Behavior Index--Males
and Females Tested Separately 55
3 Relationship of Maternal Employment to
the Sex Role Orientations of Children--
Males and Females Tested Separately 58
viii

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree
of Doctor of Philosophy
MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT, MOTHERING
AND OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN
By
Susan Harvey Hoerbelt
August 1987
Chairman: Dr. Felix M. Berardo
Major Department: Sociology
Possible outcomes for children on the basis of
maternal employment patterns were investigated in this
study. Two hypotheses were derived from previous theory
and research. These were tested using the data described
in a 1980 report by the U.S. Department of Education,
High School and Beyond. These data were gathered from a
national sample of high school seniors and sophomores.
The first hypothesis predicted that the influence of
parental attitudes on those expressed by their children
would be negatively correlated to the extent of maternal
employment. The more mothers work, the less time they
IX

have to inculcate their children with their particular
attitudes. Conversely, the more time the children are
in someone else's care, the more influential attitudes
of caretakers should be. Results of the analysis did
not support the hypothesis.
The second hypothesis predicted differences in the
behaviors and attitudes of children on the basis of
maternal employment. During the periods when mothers are
at work, socialization is accomplished by others; i.e.,
daycare workers. Because substitute socializers do not
have the investment in children that their parents have,
the intensity of the process may diminish. Furthermore,
the influence of peers in the socializing process would
increase. Previous research and theory suggest that the
behavior of males may be more greatly affected than that
of females. Results of this analysis were not able to
support this hypothesis.
Attitudes regarding sex-role orientations of
children should also be influenced by maternal employment.
Sex role orientations are acquired, in part, by observing
behaviors of others, especially close relatives of the
same sex. Mothers who are gainfully employed exhibit
x

behaviors reflecting a sex-role orientation which differs
from that exhibited by mothers who are not gainfully
employed. Previous research and theory suggest that
maternal employment patterns should be especially impor¬
tant to the sex-role orientations of daughters. The
present study could not support this hypothesis.
xi

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
This dissertation reports the results of a study on
the effects of maternal employment on children. Changes
in the work patterns of mothers over the past two
decades make this a timely issue. The percentage of U.S.
women in the labor force has been increasing for some
time. This has been true for all women: married women,
women with children, and female heads of household.
Women in the Labor Force
In 1940, 26% of women of working age (16 and older)
had jobs or were looking for work (Waite, 1981). By 1960,
this figure had risen to 37.7% (Simmons, Freedman, Dunkle,
& Blau, 1975). By 1980, 52% of these women were working
or seeking work (Waite, 1981). Following this protocol,
the term work is used herein to indicate gainful employ¬
ment. The proportion of married women who work has also
increased. In 1940, 13.3% of all married women were gain¬
fully employed (Wandersee, 1981). By 1960, 30.7% of this
group was at work (Masnick & Bane, 1980). Two decades
1

2
later, 50% of all married women were in the labor force
(Waite, 1981).
Traditionally, the women least likely to work out¬
side the house have been those with children. However,
gainful employment has also been increasing among these
women. In 1960, 33.1% of mothers with school-age children
participated full time in the labor force (Masnick & Bane,
1980). By 1980, this portion had increased to 54% (Waite,
1981). The most dramatic increases in labor force par¬
ticipation rates have been among mothers with young
children. In 1960, 23.5% of mothers with children aged
3-5 years were working full time for at least some part
of the year. Among those mothers with children under age
3, 19.4% held full-time jobs (Masnick & Bane, 1980); 20
years later, 45% of mothers of children under age 6 were
in the labor force (Waite, 1981).
Among households headed by females, figures indicate
high numbers of employed mothers. According to the U.S.
Department of Labor (1983), in 1970 the number of
divorced mothers with children ages 6-17 who were work¬
ing amounted to 82.4%. Among mothers with children under
age 6, the number was 63.3%. In 1980, these figures
stood at 82.3% and 65.4%, respectively, showing that

3
this pattern has remained relatively stable for more
than a decade.
Increasingly larger numbers of young children have
employed mothers. For example, in March 1980, 43% of
all children under age 6 had working mothers. In a single
year, this figure had risen nearly 2% to 44.9% ("Changing
Faces," 1981) (see Table 1.1).
There is every indication that rates of employment
among women will continue to increase. In projecting
future trends in labor force participation of women,
Fullerton (1980) has presented three possible forecasts
through 1995. These reflect conservative (low growth)
estimates, middle range estimates, and high growth pre¬
dictions. He concluded that, regardless of how much the
total labor force increases, women will account for most
of that growth. "More than two-thirds of the 1980-95 labor
force growth would come from women" (p. 12).
Fullerton's projections show that prime-age workers
(25-54 years), particularly women, will experience an
important rate of growth. Table 1 contrasts middle-
growth rate projections for men and women by age groups
(p. 13). For each time period, the rate of growth for
women is nearly double that for men.

4
Table 1-1. Annual Rate of Growth of the Civilian
Labor Force by Sex and Age 1975-79 and
Projected to 1995 (in %).
Sex, Age
Actual
1979-
1985-
1990-
1975-79
1985
1990
1995
Men
16 to 24
3.15
-1.47
-2.17
-1.16
25 to 54
1.83
2.06
1.88
1.10
Over 54
-0.81
0.78
-1.20
-0.57
Women
16 to 24
3.30
0.49
-0.90
-0.21
25 to 54
4.88
4.28
3.24
1.73
Over 54
2.05
0.45
-0.61
0.01
Source: U.S.
Department of
Labor,
Bureau of
Labor Stat
tics, Handbook
of Labor Statistics.
Bulletin
No. 2175.
Washington, DC
: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1983,
p. 13.

5
Preliminary Statement of the
Research Problem
Experts from various fields have been concerned with
the potentially "negative" effects of maternal employment
on children. Maternal employment sets limits on the
amount of time that mothers have available to spend with
their children. It may also diminish the intimacy of the
mother-child relationship inasmuch as it causes children
to be exposed to surrogate socializing agents such as
babysitters and day-care center personnel. Maternal em¬
ployment may produce important changes in the mother-
child relationship and should result in various conse¬
quences for children. However, empirical studies have not
been able to provide support for this position. After
reviewing the pertinent research findings, Railings and
Nye (1979) concluded that, "despite a persistent concern
over the effects of maternal employment on the child, we
can find little evidence of appreciable effects, positive
or negative" (p. 217). Various experts have pointed out
methodological shortcomings of past research which may
account for the disparity between theoretical predictions
and empirical evidence.

6
This dissertation investigates this debate by focus¬
ing on three criticisms of previous research. Specif¬
ically, the present study addresses three of these
criticisms:
1. Many studies were conducted using children in
daycare centers associated with universities (Belsky
& Steinberg, 1978). Children who attend these centers
and the centers themselves do not represent daycare
facilities throughout the society. Maternal employment
may not have the same effects on these children as those
which would be found in the general population.
2. They often fail to adequately operationalize
and control for the effects of social class, which may
be important in determining outcomes of maternal employ¬
ment for children (Hoffman, 1974).
3. Past research has also been criticized for
failing to take into account past employment histories
of mothers, which may influence any effects of maternal
employment for children (Maccoby, 1980).
This study analyses possible relationships between
maternal employment and outcomes for children using the
data set by the U.S. Dept, of Education (1980). The

7
data were gathered from a nationally representative
sample of high school sophomores and seniors between
ages 15 and 17. The heterogeneity of the sample permit¬
ted generalization of findings to a wider cross-section
of children than allowed by most previous studies. The
data set also contains a detailed operationalization of
social class. Hence, changes in the effects of maternal
employment across levels of social class could be exam¬
ined. In response to a third criticism of previous
research, High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of Education,
1980) also contains information as to maternal employment
patterns throughout children's lives.
Statement of the Research Strategy
The goal of the present study was to examine the
disparity between speculations regarding gender role be¬
liefs and research findings concerning the topic of ef¬
fects of maternal employment on children. This was
accomplished by deriving testable hypotheses from widely
accepted theories regarding child development (see
Chapter II).
One hypothesis focused on the extent of the influence
parents have on their children's attitudes. Children
whose mothers have not worked--i.e., remained the

8
traditional socializing agent--should be expected to ex¬
press attitudes more closely aligned to those of their
mothers than those children whose mothers worked--i.e.,
used surrogate socializing agents.
A second focus concerned some possible behavioral
and attitudinal differences among children on the basis
of their mothers' employment patterns. Children with
nonworking mothers should be expected to demonstrate a
higher degree of conformity to societal standards of
behavior than those whose mothers have been gainfully em¬
ployed. Also, mothers who have never worked provide a
traditional role model for their children. They should
embrace sex-role attitudes which are rather traditional
compared to the sex-role orientations expressed by
children of employed mothers.
Chapter II discusses the various theoretical per¬
spectives from which the hypotheses were derived.
Chapter III reviews the other side of the debate, per¬
tinent pieces of research revealing the lack of empirical
evidence that maternal employment affects outcomes for
children. The hypotheses, specific models, and analyt¬
ic techniques are then formally presented in Chapter IV.

CHAPTER II
INFLUENTIAL FACTORS IN SOCIALIZATION
AND CONSEQUENCES FOR CHILDREN
Individuals acquire personal identities and develop
values and aspirations through the process of socializa¬
tion. This is a complex process which is influenced by
a variety of factors (Broom, Selznick, & Darroch, 1981).
Furthermore, the impact of any single factor may vary
over time (Reid & Stephens, 1985). One relationship
that is influential throughout the process of socializa¬
tion is that of mothers and their children (Erikson,
1982). Because maternal employment represents a dif¬
ferent child-rearing pattern than that followed by
mothers who are not employed and are the primary
socializers of their children, there may be significant
consequences for children.
The importance of the role of the mother throughout
the process of socialization is discussed primarily in
the context of Erikson's (1950, 1982) idea of psycho¬
social development. He conceives of child development as
9

10
sequential and emergent. This premise provides one way of
understanding how conditions such as maternal employment
may affect children at various stages in their lives.
This chapter develops the theory from which
hypotheses are drawn. The process of acquiring attitudes
is the basis for one prediction regarding outcomes for
children on the basis of maternal employment patterns.
The perspective of social learning theory provides a
theoretical explanation as to other ways in which children
may be affected by maternal employment. Basic differ¬
ences in the socialization of males and females also
suggests that some outcomes may be more important for
males and others may be more important for females. The
specific research hypotheses, based on these theories,
will be formally presented in Chapter IV.
The Importance of the Mother Throughout
Stages of Development in Children
One way to understand the importance of the mother's
role in socialization of children is to trace the acquisi¬
tion of personality as it is influenced by that process.
Strong bonds have been found to develop between mothers
and their children within a few hours of birth (Bronfen-
brenner, 1977). Once this link has been established,

11
maintenance and continuity are extremely important to
young children in the development of a sense of well¬
being.
The importance of the mother-child relationship for
children is widely accepted. Social learning theorists
(Kagan, 1984) and parental identification theorists
(Damon, 1983) acknowledge the impact that mothers have
on their developing children's personalities. Erikson's
(1950, 1982) theories regarding the psychosocial devel¬
opment of children also stress the mother-child relation¬
ship. One way to elucidate the continuing significance
of this relationship in the development of children is
to trace children's psychosocial development using
Erikson's theories.
Erikson, expanding on Freud's ideas on the sexuality
of children, argues that psychosocial development occurs
in a series of ordered stages. Each stage of develop¬
ment requires children to acquire certain competencies
if they are to be successful in subsequent stages of
development. In each of these stages, the importance of
the mother in this acquisition process is apparent.
The first task is to develop a sense of trust. Erikson
interprets this process as the evolution of a sense of

12
reliability. "The general state of trust . . . implies
that one has learned to rely on the sameness and con¬
tinuity of outer providers" (Erikson. 1950, p. 220).
Success at this stage of development is the acquisition
of a stronger feeling of trust than its opposite, mis¬
trust. The ability to rely on others is crucial as the
foundation for healthy personality development. One way
to establish this trust is through the mother-child
relationship. A strong and consistent relationship with
the mother is central to the success of the development
of this sense of trust (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). To the
extent that mothers leave their children in the care of
surrogates, some continuity in the mother-child rela¬
tionship is lost.
This stage is followed by the development of a
sense of autonomy. Feelings of autonomy are encouraged
by a continuity of associations developed previously.
Mothers who enter the labor force at this stage break
this continuity, which is still critical to the develop¬
ing child. During this period, children also acquire
their earliest sense of independence. Alternatively,
children may develop feelings of shame and doubt. In
this instance, children doubt their own competence and

13
autonomy. Continuity in mother-child relationships
provides a foundation for the evolution of feelings of
independence (Kagan, 1984).
By the time children enter school, a third stage has
passed. Critical at this point is the development of a
feeling of initiative or the ability to have some control
over the events in their lives. Children also acquire
feelings of self-esteem. The negative side of this phase
of development is the feeling of guilt. When this feel¬
ing dominates, children suffer a loss of self-esteem.
Erikson (1982) supports the view that the major outer in¬
fluence in children's development remains the family,
especially the mother.
The elementary school-age years have been termed the
period of latency (Erikson, 1950) . During this time,
children expand their range of significant others to
include increasing numbers of individuals outside the
family. If mothers choose this period to enter the
labor force, the danger is that the child may be overbur¬
dened with too many new elements in life. This may cause
children to feel overwhelmed by their suddenly enlarged
circle of relationships (Kagan & Moss, 1962).

Another psychosocial task during this period is to
develop a sense of industry. Children must learn to feel
competent outside the family because, according to
Erikson (1950), they have "experienced a sense of
finality regarding the fact that there is no workable
future within the womb of the family" (p. 227). The
alternative to the sense of industry is the feeling of
inferiority. For children dominated by a sense of
inferiority, feelings of inadequacy and mediocrity are
confirmed (Kagan, 1984). Continued support of parents,
especially mothers, in helping children achieve this
sense of competence is important for children's success
(Rollins & Thomas, 1979).
The stage of adolescence involves the development
of a sense of identity (Kagan, 1984). According to Erik¬
son (1982), this is a period characterized by a struggle
in which the task is to synthesize an individual identity
from a number of influences which include "constitu¬
tional givens, idiosyncratic libidinal needs, favored
capacities, significant identifications, effective
defenses, successful sublimations, and consistent roles"
(p. 74). Children who are unable to develop this
identity suffer from "role confusion." This is the

15
inability to feel a sense of inner continuity between
one's self-image and various roles. Throughout this
period, mothers continue to provide a sense of con¬
tinuity for their children. As teenagers develop their
own values and aspirations, mothers serve as a role
model (Levin & Arluke, 1983). The mother who is gain¬
fully employed provides a different role model from the
one who is not (Vanfossen, 1977). Furthermore, if
mothers are spending a significant amount of time away
from home during this period, there is less opportunity
to influence the attitudes of their children (Felson &
Gottfredson, 1984).
The successful evolution of personality has par¬
ticular needs of socializers at each stage of develop¬
ment. During the preschool years, a sense of trust is
accomplished by providing a continuity in socializers
(Kagan, 1984). The school-age years require careful
introduction into a society larger than the family.
Adolescents must integrate various data into the emerging
adult personality. One source of these data is role
models. Role models impart important cues for behaviors
and attitudes in the form of their own actions and
beliefs.

16
Erikson (1982) argues that the most important
factor throughout children's psychosocial development
is the home atmosphere. More specifically, the quality
of the parent-child relationship is pivotal in per¬
sonality development. Children who have strong positive
relationships with their parents are likely to develop
healthy self-identities. Children who experience con¬
sistent home environments are likely to view their
world as reliable and trustworthy. Maternal employment,
inasmuch as it results in a different home environment
from the one provided by mothers who are not employed,
may have various consequences for children.
The Influence of Gender
Behavioral differences between the sexes are observa¬
ble from birth (Bardwick, 1971). There is considerable
evidence to suggest the existence of constitutional
variation in males and females. Systematic observations
of responses and activity throughout childhood indicate
such differences. Some of these are apparent before
socialization or other environmental effects could alter
the behaviors of the children. Observations of neonates
indicate that males exhibit higher levels of wakeful¬
ness and motor activity (Phillips, King, & DuBois, 1978).

17
By one year, males and females demonstrate even
greater specificity with respect to preferences of ac¬
tivity and stimulus (Bardwick, 1971).
Moving to the preschool years and beyond, there is
still a range of differences which seem to be linked to
the sex of a child. The consistency of results over
time is provocative. Male children demonstrate higher
levels of aggressive behavior than females (Block, 1983;
Roopnarine, 1984). Furthermore, this type of behavior
is apparently more stable and consistent among males
than among females (Kagan & Moss, 1962). Block (1983)
postulates that sex-appropriate behaviors and attitudes
permeate many areas of socialization. For example,
many of the games children play are heavily favored by
one sex or the other (Lever, 1976, 1978). This is the
case during the preschool years, elementary school
years, and high school years. Similarly, many attitudes
seem to remain influenced by the sex of the child
throughout these periods.
\
To recapitulate, during each stage in the psycho¬
social development of children, mothers or their sur¬
rogates serve a somewhat different yet important

18
purpose (Smith, 1984). The experiences of children
socialized primarily by their mothers as opposed to the
experiences of those socialized by a variety of in-
dividuals--caretakers, for example--should be manifest
in observable differences between the two groups.
There is also reason to predict that some outcomes of
maternal employment are mediated by the sex of the child.
Areas of Socialization
On the basis of the theoretical framework presented
in this chapter, it was possible to derive testable
hypotheses. These hypotheses, formally presented in
Chapter IV, focus on two influences in the socializa¬
tion process. The first was concerned with the effect
of mothers on their children's acquisition of attitudes.
The second line of inquiry attended to the differences
in males and females with regard to differences in the
socialization process.
Acquisition of Attitudes
One direct method of socialization is to provide a
set of rules. Some behaviors are mandatory, others are
prohibited. However, such explicit socialization covers
only a small portion of situations about which children
must make decisions. Children must also be given a set

19
of broader guidelines. These guide their decisions
throughout life. These general guidelines may be thought
of as a system of values. Kluckhohn (1961) has defined
values as "a selective orientation toward experience,
implying a deep commitment or repudiation, which
influences ordering of 'choices' between possible
alternatives in action" (p. 18).
By internalizing a set of values, children are
equipped to make a wide variety of decisions throughout
life. Parsons (1964) argues that the indoctrination
of children with a system of values is of paramount im¬
portance to their socialization. The process of acquir¬
ing a system of values is influenced by a variety of
factors, one of which is the array of individuals who
are influential in the acquisition process itself.
Individuals primarily socialized by a single person
should reflect values similar to those of the socializer
due to the heavy influence of that individual (Levin &
Arluke, 1983). Conversely, individuals socialized by
several persons should have a more diffuse set of
values, reflecting socialization from a number of in¬
dividuals. Thus, children who are socialized primarily
by their mothers should have values which are closer to

20
those of their mothers than the values of children who
have been socialized by a variety of people. On the
other hand, the values of children of employed mothers
should reflect the input from a number of caretakers.
Values themselves may be difficult to identify.
Some values are manifested in the attitudes one ex¬
presses (Kluckhohn, 1961). One way to estimate the
influence of parental values on children's values is to
compare the congruence of attitudes expressed by parents
with those expressed by their children.
Theoretically, it has been posited that the mother-
child relationship is of primary importance in
children's evolution of a system of values. Recall
Erikson's (1982) emphasis on the influence of a stable
and strong relationship between parents and their
children as central to the development of a healthy per¬
sonality. Any change in the mother-child relationship
may have consequences for children in the degree to
which the attitudes they express are influenced by
those of their mothers.
Sex Role Socialization
Sets of behaviors and attitudes defined as ap¬
propriate for males and females are called sex roles

21
(Damon, 1983). Because different expectations are held
for males and females (Mclntire, 1983), an important part
of socialization for children is the acquisition of an
appropriate sex-role orientation. Social learning
theorists argue that sex role orientation is acquired
through a number of ways including observation of others,
role modeling, and reinforcement of sex-appropriate be¬
haviors (Marcus & Overton, 1978; Mischel, 1970). Children
often model their behaviors and attitudes after individu¬
als of the same sex with whom they identify. A number of
theorists speculate that parents are the most influential
of these role models (Damon, 1983). As children identify
with their parents, they absorb the attitudes and be¬
haviors which they have observed in them, especially
the parent of the same sex (Mclntire, Hass, & Dreyer,
1972) .
Social learning theorists also point out that
children acquire their sex role orientations from
sources other than parents. Among others, Kagan (1975)
has noted the importance of other children and adults
to whom children look as role models. It can be said
that, to an important extent, children acquire their
sex role orientations from their parents in two ways:

22
observing the models their parents present, and observing
role models their parents permit them to be exposed to.
Maternal employment should also affect this process of
acquisition in that sons and daughters of working mothers
are presented with a different role model than children
of nonworking mothers. This should also influence
children's sex role orientations.
Mothers who remain at home present a particular
maternal image for their children. For daughters, the
relationship is fairly obvious. Mothers who do not work
represent what may be termed a traditional model for their
daughters. Assuming paternal employment, sons also re¬
ceive a traditional model as fathers go outside the home
to work.
The situation for families in which the mother is
employed is somewhat different. Sons and daughters are
presented with a different role model. Rather than the
traditional division of labor between mother and father,
in this case the parents' models represent an overlap in
the instrumental and affective roles. Employed mothers
present their children with different models that should
in turn affect the sex role orientation of children.
There may also be other consequences of maternal

23
employment for the sex role orientation of children,
some of which may be especially important for sons or
daughters. Also, in families where mothers are employed,
children are cared for by substitutes. This changes
the situation with regard to other sources of role
models to whom children are exposed. Children in group
care settings encounter a wider variety of peers, some
of whom may behave in ways parents would prefer them
not to model. This exposure to a greater range of peer
relationships may have important consequences,
especially for sons. Also, because of the different
sex role models working mothers present for their chil¬
dren, the sex role orientation of these children
—especially daughters--may differ from that of
children whose mothers are not employed.
Impact of Maternal Employment on
Behavior, Especially of Sons
It has been established that males exhibit certain
characteristics differently than females (Block, 1983).
For example, male children demonstrate higher levels of
aggressive behavior than females (Roopnarine, 1984).
There is also evidence that the pressure to exhibit sex-
appropriate behaviors is stronger for males than for

24
females (Currant, Dickson, Anderson, & Faulkner, 1979).
It is more acceptable for a girl to be a "tomboy" than
it is for a boy to be a "sissy."
One way boys meet this pressure is through phys¬
ical activities (Lever, 1978). Some of this sex-
appropriate activity is channeled in socially acceptable
directions, such as little league sports. However, other
activities are socially unacceptable according to adult
standards, such as disruptive behavior. Such positive
and negative behaviors may be equally praiseworthy in
the social world of young males. Furthermore, research
has shown that children in daycare settings are more
desirous of peer acceptance--i.e., peer-oriented--than
those raised primarily by their mothers (Moore, 1975;
Schachter, 1981). Thus, boys who spend a significant
amount of time in daycare centers may adopt more of
these aggressive behaviors than boys who are more
heavily socialized by their mothers (Mclntire 1983).
When socialization involves persons other than
parents, as in the case of maternal employment,
children are apt to experience more exposure to peers.
In this case, a greater proportion of children's sex
role orientations is derived from peers (Kagan, 1975).

25
The aggressive and impulsive behaviors exhibited by
males deviate more from those that are defined as
socially acceptable by adults than the behaviors exhib¬
ited by girls (Block, 1983). To the extent that males'
socialization is influenced by their same-sex peers,
also less conforming than their female counterparts,
the task of socialization in behaviors appropriate by
adult standards is more difficult.
Impact of Maternal Employment on Sex
Roles, Especially of Daughters
This chapter has presented the theoretical argu¬
ment that the mother-child relationship is a powerful
force in the socialization of children. Another varia¬
ble which is important in the socialization of children,
especially with regard to sex roles, is the role models
that parents present to their children (Damon, 1983).
Theorists have speculated that, due to the particular
importance of the same-sex parent as a role model,
mothers should be more influential on their daughters
than on their sons.
Maternal employment, which alters the mother-child
relationship, may also alter the influence of mothers
as sex-role models for their daughters. However, the

26
circumstance of surrogate care itself may ameliorate
some of the loss. Most substitute caregivers, such as
babysitters and daycare center workers, are females.
Caregivers are often role models to the children they
supervise. Because most of them are women, this may be
particularly important for girls. In effect, these work¬
ers provide daughters with a role model of working women,
relatively the same role model as their employed mothers.
Thus, the loss of influence that employed mothers have on
their daughters' sex role orientations may be made up, at
least partially, by their surrogates--employed women them¬
selves .
It has been assumed that mothers have an important
role in the socialization of their children. Children
who have been socialized primarily by their mothers
should be different in some aspects from those who have
been socialized by a number of persons. These effects
may vary according to the age and sex of the child. Such
effects should be evident in various beliefs and behavior
patterns expressed by children. First, nonworking
mothers should be more influential than working mothers
in the attitudes expressed by their children. Evidence
of this would be a higher degree of congruence between

27
the attitudes of children and their nonemployed mothers
than among children and their employed mothers. Their
socialization experiences should also result in ob¬
servable differences in their behaviors and sex role
orientations.

CHAPTER III
REVIEW OF RESEARCH
Increased numbers of mothers have moved into the
labor force in recent years. Researchers have responded
by investigating numerous aspects of the issue. Two sum¬
maries provide an overview of the research which has at¬
tempted to link maternal employment with various outcomes
for children. In addition to serving as an introduction
to the topic, some methodological shortcomings are also
identified in these reviews. Following these summaries,
particular pieces of research that provide insight for
the present analysis are discussed.
Research Summaries
Hoffman (1974), synthesizing the body of research
through the first part of the 1970s, points to several
important theoretical and methodological shortcomings.
Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) followed up Hoffman's
work by providing an assessment of the progress made
through the 1970s and into the 1980s. In so doing, they
indicate directions for the next decade.
28

29
Research to 1974: Hoffman's Review
Hoffman's (1974) work identifies research findings
and spells out some theoretical and methodological short¬
comings of those findings. She also suggested avenues
for future research.
To organize the research, Hoffman developed five
hypotheses which have been the concerns of most of the
studies.
1. Working mothers provide different role models
from nonworking mothers.
2. Employment affects the mothers' emotional states
positively or negatively (satisfaction versus role
strain and guilt), which in turn affects the mother-child
relationship.
3. Demands of both job and home as well as the
emotional state of the working mother affect child-
rearing practices.
4. Working mothers provide less adequate supervision
for their children than do nonworking mothers.
5. The workina mothers' absence results in emotional
and possibly cognitive deprivation for children.
Hoffman concluded that, although the evidence is
sketchy and inadequate, there is some support for the

30
first four propositions. The fifth was not supported by
research findings.
Hoffman identified three dependent variables on
which most of the studies have been centered:
1. The children's social attitudes and values;
2. The children's general mental health and adjust¬
ment, with particular emphasis on the degree of independence
3. The cognitive abilities, motivation, and intel¬
lectual performance of children.
In nearly all cases, the single independent variable
has been maternal employment. She argued that such sim¬
plistic research problems were not likely to produce
realistic estimates of the relationships.
Hoffman's review suggests the need for clearer speci¬
fication of variables--independent, dependent, and control.
She also suggests that future research be guided by
theory. Extensions of current understandings may best
be accomplished through three changes in research
strategy. A more detailed specification of maternal em¬
ployment variables will provide greater insight regarding
any effect of maternal employment. Further attention
should be given to increasing the range of possible out¬
comes for children including attitudes and behaviors.

31
There is also a need to more fully examine the effects
that such covariates as social class may have on out¬
comes for children.
Research to 1982: Bronfenbrenner and Crouter
Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) reviewed psycho¬
logical and sociological research on maternal employment
and children in 1982. They divided the literature into
items published before and after 1960. This date was
selected for two reasons. Around that time, the women's
movement was beginning to have some influence on labor
decisions of women. Also, researchers were then able to
crystallize issues of concern regarding maternal employ¬
ment and its various consequences.
The authors suggest directions that future inquiries
should take, both methodologically and substantively.
They note that most of the research to date has focused
on just two issues:
1. The comparison of characteristics of children
whose mothers work with those whose mothers do not work;
2. The impact of work on the attitudes and actions
of working mothers.
According to Bronfenbrenner and Crouter, the problem
with such studies is that they appear to assume that

32
families live in a social vacuum, unaffected by outside
influences. In the future, they suggest a focus on the
family milieu and other broader aspects of the environ¬
ment which surround children.
Bronfenbrenner and Crouter (1982) also point out a
number of variables that might mediate any impact of
maternal employment, one or more of which are usually
missing from analyses. Included among them are sex and
age of children, race, family structure, social class,
and maternal attitude toward work.
There is an especially strong need for a fuller speci¬
fication of the social class variable. In almost all
social science research, social class seems influential.
Family income, one aspect of social class, shifts upward
to some degree when a second paycheck is added to the
family income. This factor may not affect all families in
the same way. Benefits of the additional income may be
greater or different according to the family. Rather than
using a single measure of class such as income, the
authors suggest inclusion of such factors as the educa¬
tion of both parents, occupation, and proportional contri¬
butions to the family income. By combining a number of

33
factors for a more detailed measure of class, Bronfen-
brenner and Crouter (1982) predict that the importance
of this variable may become clearer.
Another important consideration is the possible
existence of delayed impact on the children. While
longitudinal studies are ideally suited to this purpose,
cross-sectional studies of late adolescents or young
adults may provide considerable insight. Studies
examining adolescents in the context of their mothers'
work history may be particularly illuminating in tracing
relationships between stages of children's lives and
impacts of maternal employment. Use of such data sets
provides one way of charting variations among children
according to the extent to which their mothers were gain¬
fully employed during various periods in their lives.
The guidelines suggested by Bronfenbrenner and
Crouter, along with those of Hoffman (1974), provide
direction for this analysis. The data set (U.S. Dept,
of Education, 1980) enables one to address a number of
methodological problems discussed by these reviews. The
present study was able to use several control variables
in addition to those which measure the extent of
maternal employment. Furthermore, the measure of social

34
class used in this analysis (see Chapter IV) is a com¬
posite variable that includes a number of items. Also,
this study was able to explore the relationship between
maternal employment and its outcomes for children on the
basis of the age of children during mothers' employment.
Various work patterns may affect preschool children in
different ways or degrees than they affect adolescents.
There is also the possibility of delayed effects. By
studying outcomes for high school students on the basis
of past maternal employment history, it is possible to
examine differences among students whose mothers have
worked throughout their lives and those whose mothers
have more recently entered the labor force. Another
consideration is the extent of employment. Logic sug¬
gests that part time work while children are in school
will have a different effect from full time employment.
Attitudinal Development
One hypothesis predicts that, as maternal employment
increases, the influence of maternal attitudes on those
of the children should decrease. This hypothesis is
based on the assumption that, as maternal employment in¬
creases, the relationship between mothers and their
children will change. Most research has focused on

35
various ways in which maternal employment affects the
general orientation of children, such as peer versus adult
orientation. While such findings do not directly reflect
on maternal influence, they do suggest that the focus of
influence may vary according to maternal work patterns.
When children are focused more toward one group than
another (parents or peers), that group should be more
influential in their attitude orientations.
Moore (1975) used a longitudinal study to investigate
possible impacts of maternal employment on children. He
divided 167 middle-class children into two groups. One
group had been in the care of someone other than their
mother for at least 25 hours per week for a minimum of
one year before age 5. Moore defined these children as
having been diffusely mothered. The second group com¬
prised children who were cared for solely by their
mothers up to age 5. This second group he termed
exclusively mothered. The children were interviewed at
the ages of 6, 7, 9, and 15. Observations were also
conducted at these times. Mothers of children in both
groups were interviewed when their children were age
6, 7, 8, and 15.
Moore's findings indicated that children reared

36
exclusively appeared more adult-like in their behaviors.
For example, they tended to be more conforming,
restrained, and fastidious than the diffusely mothered
group. However, these children also appeared more de¬
pendent on adults; they seemed more anxious to win the
approval of the teacher and more concerned about being
reprimanded by their parents.
Moore's (1975) findings were corroborated by Schach-
ter (1981). She focused on differences between toddlers
with employed mothers and those with nonemployed mothers;
32 children whose mothers were full time employees were
matched with 38 children whose mothers did not work out¬
side the home. The groups were compared on cognitive
development using a Stanford-Binet test series. Observa¬
tions provided evidence as to the social development of
the children. Emotional development was estimated through
the use of Q-Sort Ideal Comparisons measures.
Schachter (1981) found, as did Moore (1975), that
the exclusively reared children generally interacted
more often with adults than those who were diffusely
socialized. According to Schachter, these results are
consistent with previous research. On the other hand,
older children with employed mothers and/or those in

37
daycare (many of whose mothers work) were found to be
more peer-oriented.
Ragozin (1980) conducted naturalistic observations
of 20 middle-class daycare children and 17 middle-class
home-reared children. All of the subjects were aged
17-20 months. The author observed the children in
strange situation settings in order to estimate attach¬
ment to the mother. She found that those children in
daycare settings exhibited more avoidance behaviors upon
reunion with their mothers than the home-reared children.
Furthermore, the daycare group demonstrated more
generalized responses to adults. Ragozin hypothesized
that this may be due to the children having fewer adult
contacts.
Gold and Andres (1980) compared 379 ten-year-old
children on the basis of maternal work patterns. They
contrasted groups of Canadian francophone children from
working-class and middle-class backgrounds on a variety
of characteristics. One area of investigation was
parental ratings of the children's personality adjustment.
Their research findings indicated that middle-class
mothers who were employed described their daughters as
more cooperative than those of mothers who were not

38
employed. Within the working-class group, employed
mothers characterized their daughters as more outgoing
and independent than unemployed mothers. Also, among
working-class families, mothers who were employed were
less likely to describe their sons as domineering.
Maternal employment had no apparent effect on fathers'
ratings of their children or on the type and number of
problems parents reported having with their children.
Gold and Andres (1980) also reported a relation¬
ship between class and satisfaction within employment
categories. Middle-class mothers who worked appeared
to be the most contented group. This finding was
similar to those of their earlier study (197 8A) . Also,
as in the 1978A study, middle-class mothers who worked
seemed to be the most satisfied. Middle-class non¬
working women appeared to be the least content. The
sons of employed working-class women were less content
than middle-class sons or working-class sons whose
mothers did not work.
The conclusions of Hoffman (1979) that social class
is influential in determining how children are affected
by maternal employment provide one explanation for the
findings of Gold and Andres. Hoffman reviewed a number

39
of findings which implied that the impact of maternal
employment for male children was mediated by class.
Working-class males whose mothers are employed seem to
have lower levels of admiration for their fathers than
those whose mothers do not work or than those of higher
class. The presumption she made was that there is a
negative assessment by the sons of the fathers' success
in the provider role.
Propper (1972) found that high school students with
working mothers reported more areas of disagreement with
their parents than those whose mothers did not work.
Her sample consisted of 229 secondary school students.
The questionnaire focused on student activities and
parent-child relationships. Propper found indications
of greater numbers of disagreements with parents among
the group whose mothers were employed. However, there
seemed to be no difference in the perception of close¬
ness or in the feelings of affection between parents
and their children in the two groups.
During the preschool years, children whose mothers
work exhibit less attachment to their mothers than
children of nonworking mothers. These children also seem
to display stronger peer orientations than those whose

40
mothers did not work. Regarding school-age children, the
parent-child relationship does not appear fundamentally
different from that of families where the mother is not
employed. Although high school students with working
mothers indicate more areas of disagreement with their
parents, they do not report feeling less close to them.
Thus, there is little evidence of lasting differences in
the relationships between parents and their children on
the basis of maternal employment patterns.
Behavioral Differences
Another concern of the study reported here is that
there may be behavioral differences in children on the
basis of maternal employment patterns. More specifically,
children of working women should exhibit more behaviors
which are defined as less socially acceptable behaviors
than children of nonworking women. This may be
especially important for sons. Previous research sug¬
gests that such outcomes may occur before children are
of school age; however, as time passes, the manifesta¬
tions of these early differences become more difficult to
estimate.
Vlietstra (1981) used teacher ratings and observa¬
tions to contrast the behaviors of 17 half-day students
with those of 20 full-day students. All children were

41
between the ages of 2.5 and 4.5 years. The full-day
students' mothers worked, whereas those attending only
part-time did so for enrichment purposes only. Her
findings indicated that full-day children exhibited more
active and aggressive behavior. On the other hand, the
half-day students seemed to be more cooperative and
less disruptive in the classroom setting.
Schachter (1981) found that children of working
mothers were generally more peer-oriented. They were
approached more often by their peers and engaged in
physical interaction more often than other children.
Teachers rated the children of working women as being more
independent and less jealous than children of nonworking
mothers.
D'Amico, Haurin, and Mott (1983) reported only
sporadic associations between maternal employment and
educational outcomes for children. They used two sub¬
samples drawn from the National Longitudinal Surveys of
Labor Market Experience. These consist of two surveys,
one for young men taken in 1966 with repeated inter¬
views until 1981; this survey was begun when these males
were between the ages of 16 and 18. The other survey
comprised women aged 14-17 and was administered in 1968;

42
the group was followed until 1983. The subsamples
used by D'Amico et al. (1983) were two sets of matched
pairs. One was a group of 784 mothers and daughters;
the other was a group of 768 mothers and sons. They
were repeatedly interviewed between 1968 and 1978.
The findings of this latter study suggest that the
most pervasive impact of maternal employment on the
educational attainment of children seemed to be during
the preschool years. When the mother was employed
during the preschool years, there was a lower probability
of the son's completing high school. However, as mothers
worked a greater number of years from the birth of the
first child, the likelihood that the sons would complete
high school increased. D'Amico et al. also found that,
if maternal employment does affect academic performance,
it does so only modestly and indirectly. The findings
were consistent for males and females.
During the preschool years, children exhibit dif¬
ferences in behavior according to the extent of their
mothers' work. Children of working women seem more
aggressive, independent, and peer-oriented. Beyond this
period in children's lives, there are no clear indica¬
tions of such differences. The analysis presented in

43
this work, using the High School and Beyond (U.S.
Dept, of Education, 1980) data, may provide some insight
into differences in children during their adolescent
years.
Sex Role Orientation
Another concern of the present research is whether
maternal employment affects the sex role orientations
of children. More precisely, children of working women
should reflect a different sex role orientation from
that evidenced by children of nonworking women. Research
on this relationship has provided mixed results. Unfor¬
tunately, there is no research on this subject which
particularly examines effects on preschool children.
Gold and Andres (1978B) found that 10-year-old boys
of working-class mothers experience greater difficulty in
sex role identification than those whose mothers did not
work. These boys were more often described negatively
by their fathers, had poorer grades and peer relations,
and were rated more shy and nervous than sons of
nonworking mothers.
Gold and Andres (1978A) studied a group of 253
students aged 14-16. Their analysis was limited to in¬
tact nuclear families. Members of the sample were

44
categorized into working and middle class. They were
also grouped according to maternal employment status,
employed or nonemployed. There was some indication
that the sex role concepts of children of working
mothers were more androgynous than those of nonworking
mothers. However, the difference was not as strong
as had been found in a previous study (Gold & Andres,
1978B) with 10-year-old children.
Banducci (1967) studied a sample of 3,014 high
school seniors. He utilized the school records of the
group and also administered questionnaires to them.
His findings provide information regarding academic
achievement and aspirations and plans for future employ¬
ment. His results indicated that teenage girls with
working mothers were more likely to report future
plans that included combining career and family. The
D'Amico et al. (1983) study also drew some conclusions
on the impact of maternal employment on the career
orientations of sons and daughters. Their findings
indicated that maternal employment during daughters'
preschool years was associated with those girls who ex¬
pressed a more traditional orientation. However, there
seemed to be little impact on long-range career plans.

45
D'Amico et al. (1983) noted that, "more surprising is the
absence of any strong or pervasive role-modeling influ¬
ences, especially on daughters' work-related plans and
ambitions than we might have expected" (p. 163).
For males, there seemed to be an inverse relationship
between work status of the mother during the preschool
years and adult occupational status.
Hoffman (1979), in surveying the literature on
maternal employment, noted the importance of considering
findings in the context of concurrent changes in society.
Her analysis suggests that the literature provides a
fairly clear indication that daughters of working mothers
differ from those of mothers who stay at home in several
important ways. She has concluded that daughters of
employed women hold the female role in higher esteem
than daughters of women who do not work. They also
appear to have higher levels of social, personal, and
educational adjustment. Daughters of women who work tend
to be higher achievers and exhibit more positive adjust¬
ments than daughters of nonworking women. According to
Hoffman, this may also be the case for males. There is
some implication that sons of working mothers are better

46
adjusted and higher achievers than those whose mothers
stay home.
While some studies have reported differences in
career orientation on the basis of maternal employment,
the majority of research findings do not support this
relationship. Daughters have been found to exhibit more
positive personal and social adjustment when their mothers
work. Sons and daughters seem more androgynous in their
orientations if their mothers are employed. However,
research suggests that this may diminish with time. The
analysis described in this paper explores the nature of
these relationships more fully.
This review of past research has highlighted find¬
ings in two ways. Research summaries including research
through the 1970s summarized findings and identified
deficiencies of numerous studies. Specifically, three
methodological criticisms of previous research in these
summaries were addressed using the data in High School
and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of Education, 1980). Many studies
have been limited in that a single measure of maternal
employment has been the only independent variable. This
study made use of a number of influential variables,
permitting a fuller specification of relationships among

47
them. Second, the measure of social class used in the
present study was a combination of a number of factors
rather than the single estimate used in most other
analyses. Third, an examination of the High School and
Beyond data permitted an analysis of maternal employment
patterns and their effects on children through various
periods in children's lives rather than effects at
only one point in time.

CHAPTER IV
METHODOLOGY
It has been posited that the relationship between
mothers and children is crucial to the children's sociali¬
zation. The importance of this relationship begins at
birth and continues through adolescence (Erikson, 1950,
1982). If the relationship between working mothers and
their children is different from that established by non¬
working mothers and their children, there should be
observable differences between children on the basis of
maternal work patterns.
However, empirical studies to date have largely
failed to support this line of reasoning. It has been
suggested by a number of experts (among whom Bronfenbren-
ner & Crouter, 1982; Hoffman, 1979) that various methodo¬
logical issues must be resolved in future studies. The
present analysis tests certain hypotheses drawn from the
theory presented in Chapter II. This study also responds
to various shortcomings of past research which were
48

49
discussed in Chapter III. This was accomplished by using
the data set of the U.S. Dept, of Education, High
School and Beyond (1980) . This data set is drawn from
a national sample of high school students. The set
also contains information regarding maternal work history
and a multifaceted operationalization of the social class
variable.
This chapter formally presents the specific research
hypotheses of this study, followed by the operationaliza¬
tions of variables used to test the hypotheses. The items
drawn from the data set are also discussed. Finally, the
specific methods used in this analysis are reviewed.
Hypotheses
The theory reviewed in Chapter II suggests a range
of relationships from which testable hypotheses might be
drawn. This study explored two of these. One hypothesis
links maternal work patterns to the extent to which
mothers influence the attitudes of their children. The
other hypothesis explores effects of maternal work pat¬
terns on school-related behaviors and one aspect of
children's sex role orientations.

50
Maternal Influence on Children's Attitudes
Maternal influence is measured by the extent to
which mothers' attitudes are congruent with children's
attitudes. Mothers should be more influential in shaping
children's attitudes when they are more constantly in¬
volved in the children's socialization (Kagan, 1984).
Conversely, when socialization is divided among a number
of caretakers, as in the case of employed mothers, the
influence of each on the process should be less.
Hypothesis 1. The attitude congruence between
mothers and children regarding maternal employment
diminishes as maternal employment increases.
The model used to test this hypothesis included
a number of covariates which other research has linked
to the relationship between maternal employment and
maternal influence on the attitudes of children. These
include: students' sex (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter,
1982), social class (Bloom-Feshbach, Bloom-Feshbach,
& Heller, 1982), academic achievement (Messaris &
Hornik, 1983), and peer affiliation (Berndt, 1983)
(see Figure 1).

51
= Relationships tested
= Relationships included in this model
but not tested
= Relationships assumed but not tested
Figure 1. Relationship of the Congruence of Maternal
Attitudes and Those of Children on the
Basis of Maternal Employment.

52
This model also contained three interaction terms,
each of which measures the influence of the cross-product
of two independent variables on the dependent variable
(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). In this model, the inter¬
action terms test the extent to which three maternal
employment variables--mothers' work during their
children's preschool years, elementary school years, and
high school years—affect the influence of mothers' atti¬
tudes on those of their children. The hypothesis pre¬
dicted that the influence of maternal attitudes would
diminish as the amount of time mothers were employed
increased. Significance of the interaction terms would
also provide support for the hypothesis.
Another test of this hypothesis compared the
influence of those mothers who worked full time through¬
out their children's lives with the influence of mothers
who had never worked. This type of comparison is called
a test of extreme cases. According to the hypothesis,
the influence of mothers who have never worked should
be significantly stronger than that of mothers who have
worked full time throughout their children's lives.

53
Effects on Children's Behaviors and Attitudes
Chapter II presented a line of reasoning which led
to the prediction that maternal employment affects be¬
haviors and attitudes of children. One premise of
social learning theory is that children are socialized
by their role models and their observations of others
(Kagan, 1975). Children whose mothers are employed are
exposed to different role models than those children
whose mothers are not employed. Children of working
women spend an important part of their time with and are
socialized in part by caregivers other than their mothers.
These children also spend an important part of their
time in the company of their peers, who also contribute
to their socialization. On the other hand, children whose
mothers do not work are socialized primarily by their
mothers. The differing nature of these socializing
experiences, caregivers and peers versus mothers, mani¬
fests different behaviors and attitudes in children.
The rationale on which the subhypotheses are based sug¬
gests the importance of the child's sex. The behaviors
of sons should be more affected by maternal work pat¬
terns than the behaviors of daughters. Daughters should
be influenced more than sons by the role models presented

54
by their parents. These subhypotheses will test males
and females separately.
Hypothesis 2. Particular behaviors and attitudes
of children will differ on the basis of their mothers'
employment patterns:
A. Maternal employment patterns directly affect the
degree to which children exhibit school-related behaviors
which are defined as not acceptable by the schools.
B. Maternal employment patterns affect the sex
role orientations expressed by children.
Children's behavior. In Chapter II, it was reasoned
that, as a portion of socialization was accomplished by
peers rather than mothers, children would reflect this
in their behaviors; that is, children socialized in part
by peers would be more conforming to standards set by
peers than those set by adults (Mclntire et al., 1972).
Boys exhibit more aggressive behavior (Mischel, 1970)
whereas girls' behaviors appear more passive and
compliant (Duvall & Miller, 1985). Thus, changes in
behavior which are affected by these different patterns
of socialization due to maternal work patterns may be
more apparent in boys than in girls. Figure 2 presents
the model used to test Hypothesis 2A.

55
= Relationships tested
= Relationships included in this model
but not tested
= Relationships assumed but not tested
Figure 2.
Relationship of Maternal Employment to Non-
conforming Behavior Index--Males and Females
Tested Separately.

56
Previous research suggests that a number of factors
may be important in explaining the relationship between
maternal employment and nonconforming behavior. These
include sex (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter, 1982), social
class (Bloom-Feshbach et al., 1983), family size
(D'Amico et al., 1983), academic achievement (Heynes, 1982),
and peer affiliation (Jurich & Andrews, 1984).
Children's sex role orientation. Sex role orienta¬
tion was defined in Chapter II as one's beliefs concern¬
ing behaviors and attitudes appropriate for males and
females. One way in which sex role orientation is
acquired is through role models. Children's beliefs as
to appropriate behaviors for males and females are
based in part on their observations of the behaviors of
those around them, particularly their parents (Kagan,
1975). Working mothers provide a different role model
for their children than nonworking mothers.
Chapter II also emphasized the importance of the
mother-child bond to children's acquisition of values,
which are manifest in attitudes. It would seem, then, that
working mothers—inasmuch as separation of mothers and
their children weakens the mother-child bond--are less
effective as role models than nonworking mothers.

57
However, when mothers work, children are placed in the
care of surrogate mothers, usually working women them¬
selves. As these caregivers also serve as role models,
some of the loss of the maternal role model of a working
mother may be ameliorated by these surrogates. Figure 3
displays the model used to test Hypothesis 2B.
The research of others has suggested a number of
variables that may further clarify the relationship be¬
tween maternal employment and children's sex role orienta
tions. These include social class (Bloom-Feshbach et
al., 1983), family size (D'Amico et al., 1983), academic
achievement (Heynes, 1982), peer affiliation (Bronfenbren
ner & Crouter, 1982), and parental attitudes regarding
maternal employment (Reid & Stephens, 1985; Smith & Self,
1980) .
A central theme in the theoretical perspectives
from which these hypotheses were drawn is the importance
of the mother-child relationship to children's socializa¬
tion. Thus, maternal influence in the socialization
process should diminish as women work more throughout
their children's lives, inasmuch as employment diminishes
the extent to which mothers have primary control in
that process. From this, it can be predicted that the

53
= Relationships tested
= Relationships included in this model
but not tested
= Relationships assumed but not tested
Figure 3» Relationship of Maternal Employment to the
Sex-Role Orientations of Children--Males
and Females Tested Separately..

59
attitudes of mothers who have never worked are more
influential in shaping their daughters' sex role orienta¬
tions than the attitudes of mothers who have worked
full time throughout their daughters' lives. This was
tested by comparing the influence of maternal attitudes
toward maternal employment on their daughters' career
orientations for those daughters whose mothers have
never worked, with those of daughters whose mothers
have worked full time throughout the three periods of
their daughters' lives identified in this sample.
The hypotheses specified in this study provided a
range of predictions. They identified behavioral and
attitudinal variations among children on the basis of
maternal employment patterns. These effects were also
predicted to be consistent when the effects of a number
of covariates were accounted for. Such elaboration
required the use of a large and comprehensive data
set which would permit necessary specification.
High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of Education, 1980)
met these criteria and provided the data for use in
this analysis.

60
Dependent Variable: Children's Attitudes
Three questions were used as dependent variables to
test the hypothesis which predicted that mothers who were
not employed have more influence on their children's atti¬
tudes than mothers who are employed. These questions
asked students about their attitudes regarding working
women.
How do you feel about each of the following state¬
ments?
A. A working mother of preschool children can be
just as good a mother as the woman who does not work.
B. It is usually better for everyone involved if the
man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes
care of the home and family.
C. Most women are happiest when they are making a
home and caring for children.
Response options were given in a Likert-type scale:
agree strongly = 1; agree = 2; disagree = 3; disagree
strongly = 4.
Dependent Variable: Children's Behaviors
It has been argued in Chapter II that maternal employ¬
ment patterns increase the likelihood of children engaging
in nonconforming behavior; i.e., deviating from socially

61
approved norms. The dependent variable used to test
this hypothesis was operationalized as an index. This
index was constructed by adding students' scores on three
questions.
Are the following statements about your experiences
in school true or false?
A. I have had disciplinary problems in school during
the last year.
B. I have been suspended or put on probation during
the last year.
C. Every once in a while I cut class.
Response choices were: true = 1; false = 2. The
response of "false" was recoded to zero. By so doing, the
index scores ranged from zero = all false responses to
3 = all true responses. This index provided an ordinal
measure of committal of nonconfirming behavior.
Dependent Variable: Sex Role Orientation
Sex role orientation has been defined as the beliefs
people hold regarding appropriate behaviors for males and
females. One dimension of sex role orientation is career¬
ism which may be defined as the extent to which people
wish to delay marriage and family in favor of career
development. Careerism is actually a continuum. For

62
those who fall on one end, the desire for marriage and
family is already fulfilled or anticipated in the im¬
mediate future. Those who fall toward this end of the
continuum express a traditional orientation. Those who
desire to forfeit or delay indefinitely marriage and
family are at the other end of this continuum. Those
who fall toward this end of the continuum express a
career orientation. The longer people choose to delay
these events, the more career-oriented they are assumed
to be. Each indicator was used separately. Students
responded to the following questions:
At what age to do you expect to . . .
A. Get married?
B. Have your first child?
The responses for both questions were in years. In
the original questionnaire, each year was assigned a
value ranging from 3 to 16. These were recoded to the
age they represented. A response code of one was
assigned to those who did not expect to marry or have
children. Even though this group may represent the most
extreme careerists, they had to be dropped from the
analysis. Since marriage and childbirth were not in
their plans, there was no way to legitimately assign

63
them ages at which they expected these events to take
place. A response originally coded 2 indicated that the
students had already married or had children; they were
assigned an age of 16. Those who responded 30 or older
were assigned an age of 30. The use of adolescents'
expectations regarding their future as measures of
careerism has also been followed by Budd and Spencer
(1984), D'Amico et al. (1983), and Reid and Stephens
(1985) .
Independent Variables: Maternal Employment
This analysis was concerned with how maternal employ¬
ment might affect children. The theory presented in
Chapter II and pertinent research presented in Chapter
III suggest that effects of maternal employment may vary
with the children's ages during the times when their
mothers work (Reid & Stephens, 1985) . Also, the number
of hours worked may be important (Maccoby, 1980; Reid
& Stephens, 1985) to outcomes for children. For
instance, children whose mothers work part time may be
less affected by their mothers' employment than children
whose mothers work full time. The independent variables
in this study permitted such period specification.

64
The maternal work variables examined the impact of
employment during three periods of time. Each described
the employment pattern during a particular stage in
children's lives. These variables were operationalized
using the following questions asked of parents.
Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during
the period when your son/daughter was in high school?
Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during the
period when your son/daughter was in elementary school?
Did you (your spouse) usually have a job during
the period before your son/daughter was in elementary
school?
The response categories for each of the questions
were: did not work = 1; worked part time = 2; worked full
time = 3.
To summarize, this study contained three maternal
work variables which measured the amount of work mothers
did during the years before their children went to
school, during the years their children were in
elementary school, and during their children's high school
years.

Covariates
Previous research has suggested that a number of
factors may be important to one or more of the
hypotheses in this study. The following covariates were
added to the equations as theory and research dictated.
A number of findings suggest that sex is influential
in determining children's attitudes regarding maternal
employment (Canter & Ageton, 1984; Smith, 1984).
Previous research has also implicated sex of the child as
an important factor in predicting the likelihood of the
commission of nonconforming behaviors (Anolik, 1983;
Felson & Gottfredson, 1984; Hogan & Nookherjee, 1981;
Maccoby, 1980). A number of researchers have found that
patterns of career orientation differ for males and
females (Reid & Stephens, 1985).
This is a dichotomous variable which measures the
sex of students. Females had a value of zero, males a
value of one.
Academic Achievement
Academic achievement has been found to influence
the attitudes of children regarding sex roles (Archer,
1985; Farmer, 1985; Reid & Stephens, 1985; Young, 1983).

66
There is also evidence to suggest that academic achieve¬
ment is related to the likelihood of committing non-
conforming behavior (Hains, 1984; Maccoby, 1980).
Parents were asked to estimate the grades their
children usually received in school. Response
categories represented the mid-points of numerical
ranges of grades of 90-100, 85-89, 80-84, 75-79, 70-74, 65
69, 60-64, and below 60.
Social Class
Social class has been found to influence the sex
role attitudes of children (Canter & Ageton, 1984; Lueptow
1980; Vanfossen, 1977). There are also findings
that suggest that social class of the child contributes
to the probability of committing nonconforming behaviors
(Anolik, 1983; Felson & Gottfredson, 1984; Hogan &
Nookherjee, 1981; Maccoby, 1980). A number of research¬
ers have found that students' career orientations differ
according to social class (Archer, 1985; Farmer, 1985).
One strength of the data set was the detailed opera¬
tionalization of the social class variable. This com¬
bines five indicators of class, and includes father's
occupation, father's education, and mother's education.
Income is measured by asking respondents to classify

67
themselves into one of seven income categories. Another
component of the social class measure was the number of
the following items in the family: daily newspaper,
encyclopedia, typewriter, electric dishwasher, two or
more cars, trucks, etc., more than 50 books, student's
own room, and pocket calculator. Scores on each of
these variables were standardized within grade,
sophomores and seniors, then averaged to produce a
range from -20 to 20. A score of zero would thus
represent the mid-point of the range of values for
this variable. For purposes of this analysis, these
scores were divided by 100 so that the range of this
variable was limited to -20 to 20.
Family Composition
Family composition has been found to be influential
in the sex-role attitudes of children (Smith, 1984).
This variable has also been reported to be influential
in predicting the proneness toward nonconforming
behavior (Hogan & Nookherjee, 1981; Maccoby, 1980).
Family composition was measured by whether or not
the respondent had brothers and/or sisters living in
the same household. While this does not provide a
measure of complete family size, it does indicate whether

68
or not the responded resided as an only child in the home
at the time of the survey. The response of "false"
was coded zero, and "true" responses were given a value
of one.
Peer Affiliation
Previous research (Kagan, 1984) has shown that peer
influence may play a major role in determining the atti¬
tudes and behaviors expressed by children, especially
teenagers. Young (1983) and Archer (1985) found that
peer relationships played an important role in the devel¬
opment of sex role attitudes. Maccoby (1980) and
Jurich andAndrews (1984) reported findings that suggested
the importance of peers in the behaviors of children.
Although peer embeddedness is usually estimated
on the basis of self-report (Berndt, 1983), such meas¬
ures represent only the respondents' impressions of
their own level of affiliation. Another way of assessing
levels of embeddedness is to compare students on a par¬
ticular behavior that suggests the extent of involve¬
ment with peers. This study used the extent to which
respondents talk to their friends on the telephone.
Teenagers who elect to spend more of their free time on

69
the telephone were presumed to be more involved in those
peer relationships.
Students were asked the following question:
How frequently do you talk to your friends on the
telephone?
Response choices were: rarely; less than once a
week; once or twice a week; daily or almost daily.
The categories of this variable were dummied into
three variables. Previous research suggests that peer af
filiation has its greatest impact on those who have the
strongest ties to their peers. Thus, the response
"daily or almost daily" was the omitted category.
Maternal Attitudes
With regard to career orientations, several research
ers (Archer, 1985; Farmer, 1985; Reid & Stephens, 1985;
Smith & Self, 1980; Young, 1983) have found a relation¬
ship between the attitudes of one or both parents and
the attitudes and personal aspirations expressed by their
children. Although mothers' attitudes were of interest
in this study, nearly half of the parental respondents
were fathers. Previous studies (Acock & Yang, 1984;
Lueptow, 1980), which show that fathers' attitudes are
similar to those of mothers, legitimate the assumption

70
that attitudes of husbands are closely aligned with
those of their wives. On this basis, the research re¬
ported in this dissertation assumed that paternal atti¬
tudes were appropriate proxies for mothers' attitudes.
Three questions in the parents' survey were used to
estimate maternal attitudes. These were identical to
those in the students' questionnaire. Student
responses were used as dependent variables to test
Hypothesis 2B in this research. The precise wording of
these questions may be found on page 60. To review, how¬
ever, each asked the respondent's opinion as to an
issue concerning working women. Responses were rated
on a Likert-type scale ranging from "strongly disagree"
to "strongly agree." Recalling the discussion of these
variables earlier in this chapter, one question asked
whether a working mother of preschool children could be
as good a mother as one who does not work. Another asked
if it was usually better for the man to be the achiever
outside the home and the woman to stay inside the home.
The third question asked respondents if they thought
women were usually happier when they stayed at home.

71
Description of the Data
The nature of the relationships between maternal
employment and various outcomes for children was explored
through the use of multiple regression. This was accom¬
plished through use of a data set which made it possible
to observe the effects of factors identified by previous
research and theory.
The Data Set
The data used in this analysis were compiled by the
National Opinion Research Center (NORC) for the National
Center for Educational Statistics. The set, High School
and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of Education, 1980) consists of five
files, two of which were used in this study. These data
were derived from a national sample of high school seniors
and sophomores and their parents, and were collected in the
spring of 1980. The set is the first wave of a national
longitudinal survey of youth.
One of the two files used in this research was the
Student File. A two-stage probability sample was used to
select respondents. A sampling frame of 26,095 schools
led to a subject sample of 1,122 schools; 36 sophomores
and 36 seniors were randomly selected from each school for
participation in the survey. The total sample from which

72
the subsample used in this study was drawn comprised
28,240 seniors and 30,030 sophomores.
The second file used in this analysis was the Parent
File. This survey was done in autumn 1980 and used a
subsample of parents of respondents in the student survey.
The sampling techniques followed those used in the student
survey. A subsample of 312 schools was drawn from the
1,015 participating schools. From these 312 schools,
parents of 3,654 sophomores and 3,547 seniors participated
in the survey. Data were collected via mailed question¬
naires and telephone and personal interviews.
The senior questionnaire consisted of 121 questions
and the sophomore questionnaire contained 114 questions;
89 questions are common to the two groups. The parent-of-
senior survey comprised 72 questions, and the parent-of-
sophomore survey comprised 68 questions; 58 questions
were common to the two groups, and a number of questions
were common to both student and parent questionnaires.
The Student-Parent File
This analysis was based solely on those families who
participated in the student and the parent surveys. This
made it necessary to use the parent file to draw the sub¬
sample from the student file. Each participant was

73
assigned a unique case identifier. This number for the
students corresponded with the assigned number for
parents. The parent and student data were matched and
those students whose parents were also respondents were
drawn from the student file.
Student data were combined with parent data to
create a new file which consisted of parent and student
responses to selected questions. In the newly created
file, therefore, a case consisted of both sets of
responses. This was done so that responses of parents
and their children could be combined. The next section
describes the sociodemographics of subjects in the newly
created file and the cases drawn from it for use in the
present analysis.
Sociodemographics of the Subsample
The subsample used in this analysis comprised 4,544
cases. There were 2,239 sophomore respondents and 2,305
senior respondents. Among the group, 2,265 (49.9%) were
females and 2,121 (46.7%) were males. The remaining 158
(3.4%) of the cases were coded as missing on this varia¬
ble. Within the sample, there were 357 black and 3,760
white respondents. These represented 7.9% and 82.75% of
the total, respectively. The remaining 9.35% of the

sample comprised various other ethnic groups. This
analysis was restricted to whites for two reasons. In
many cases, sociological models appear to be race
specific, appropriate for whites but not for blacks or
vice versa. Thus, limiting the analysis to whites
eliminated some interpretive problems. Second, the sub¬
sample drawn from the data set contains data on 3,760
whites and 357 blacks. By using whites rather than any
other group, the sample used in the present study was as
large as possible. Using a large sample permitted the
analysis of subgroups.
There is widespread evidence in the literature that
any impact of maternal employment is mediated by the
particular family situation (Bronfenbrenner & Crouter,
1982; Hayes & Kammerman, 1983). More specifically, there
is an indication that these outcomes may depend on
whether or not the children have grown up in an intact
nuclear family or in some other circumstance, such as a
single-parent home. While the nature of each of these
is certainly provocative, time and space require analyses
to be limited in some ways. This research was limited
to intact nuclear families. This was accomplished by
omitting all those in the sample who responded that

75
they lived with someone other than both their mother and
father.
There were two reasons for this limitation. The
first involved the research design. Any attempt at
explanation involves the rather complicated task of de¬
composing a multifaceted relationship. This can be
accomplished more easily if the population of concern is
homogeneous on some factors. Understanding the dynamics
of the situation for any portion of society would cer¬
tainly be worthwhile, but important differences—such
as family composition--may influence how maternal employ¬
ment affects the family. For example, some studies
suggest that the trauma of divorce may lead to rebellious
behavior in children. By omitting families who had
experienced divorce, the possibility of divorce as a
causal component was eliminated.
The selection of the families to be used in this
study was made on the basis of student responses to the
following question:
Which of the following people live in the same
household with you? A = father, C = mother. Respond¬
ents who answered no to either of those questions were
eliminated. Since stepparents were alternative

76
responses, it was assumed that these responses referred
to natural parents.
Method of Analysis
The statistical method used in this analysis was
multiple regression. This procedure takes into account
the contributions of a number of variables to the
statistical explanation of the dependent variable. This
procedure made it possible to estimate in some detail the
nature and strength of various influences (independent
variables) to a particular outcome (dependent variable).
One assumption of multiple regression is that the
values of the dependent variable are normally distributed
with constant standard deviations at all levels of the
independent variables. Multiple regression is also
based on the assumption that the relationship between
the dependent and independent variables is linear in
form. Put another way, for each unit increase in the
independent variables, there will be a consistent in¬
crease in the mean value of the dependent variable. By
examining the influence of the independent variables on
the dependent variable at a number of levels, the
influence of the independent variables on the dependent
variable may be more confidently estimated.

77
In assuming normality, regression also assumes that
dependent variables are continuous rather than discrete.
As such, scores on a dependent variable could fall any¬
where within extremes of a continuum. This condition
allows one to more fully examine the influence of the
predictors. When the dependent variable is discrete,
scores cannot fall anywhere along a continuum but rather
only at specific points along the continuum. In many
variables, these points can only represent approxima¬
tions within the response range. Furthermore, the fewer
response choices given for this variable, the cruder
the predictions of the influence of the independent
variables will be. To illustrate, one hypothesis
predicted a relationship between maternal employment pat¬
terns and children's attitudes. This was tested using
dependent variables which asked students their opinion
on certain aspects of maternal employment in general.
Students were asked to respond "strongly agree,"
"agree," "disagree," or "strongly disagree" to each of
three questions. In reality, opinions may be
continuous variables, taking an infinite number of

78
values between absolute agreement and absolute disagree¬
ment. When respondents must select a response category
which only approximates their opinion, there is a degree
of error in that response. The farther away from
accuracy one is forced to choose, the greater the error.
One consequence of this is that the influence of inde¬
pendent variables can only be roughly estimated and should
be interpreted with caution. One strategy for dealing
with this dilemma is to make use of sophisticated tech¬
niques such as logistic regression. This technique
statistically transforms categorical variables into
unbounded continuous dependent variables (Hanushek &
Jackson, 1977).
Another dependent variable in this study was an index
of nonconformity to school policies. The index was
created by adding student responses of "true" or "false"
on three questions. The greater the number of items
to which a student responded "true," the higher the index
score. The additive index provides an ordinal measure
of nonconformity. Due to the dichotomy of each item in
the index, the assumption of the continuous nature of
the dependent variables, discussed above, would not
permit use of the items individually. By adding scores

79
of three items together, the dependent variable, the
index, has a range of 0-3.
There are actually three independent variables in the
present study: maternal employment during children's
preschool years, maternal employment during children's
elementary school years, and maternal employment during
children's high school years. Each variable has three
categories: no employment, part time employment, and full
time employment. These variables were converted into
dummy variables to be used in regression equations
(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). This was accomplished by
creating a series of new variables, each representing
a category of the maternal work variable. Each case
was assigned a value of one for observations which fall
into a particular category, and a value of zero for the
other newly created variables. In the case of maternal
work during high school, for example, a student whose
mother did not work would be assigned a value of one
for the "no work" variable and a value of zero for the
£>art time" and "full time" variables. It was necessary
to create new variables for all categories of the varia¬
ble of interest minus one, since the final category

80
represents all those cases coded zero on all other
levels of the variable.
The value for the omitted category is the value of
the intercept in the regression equation. The coef¬
ficients of the dummy variables are interpreted as the
difference in the mean of that particular category of the
variable and the mean of the omitted category (Blalock,
1972; Kerlinger & Pedhazur, 1973). These coefficients
provide a measure of influence that a category of the
variable has compared to the influence of the omitted
category on the dependent variable. Using the employment
during high school example, the coefficient for the "no
work" variable is actually the difference in the mean of
the dependent variable when the independent variable is
"no work" compared to the mean of the dependent variable
when the independent work variable is "full time." One
hypothesis predicts that careerism, a component of
children's sex role orientations, will be stronger when
their mothers work. Careerism is operationalized by the
ages at which children expect to marry and bear their
first child. According to the hypothesis, the coef¬
ficient for the "no work" category should be negative,
as daughters whose mothers do not work should expect to

81
marry and have children at a younger age than those
whose mothers work full time. The mean age at marriage
for children whose mothers do not work should be lower
than the mean age at marriage for children whose mothers
work full time. The magnitude of the "no work" coeffici¬
ent indicates the strength of this category relative to
the "full time work" category. Similarly the coefficient
for the part time variable is the difference of means
between part time and full time work on the dependent
variable. The significance of these were tested using
t-tests.
In this study, the "full time work" category was the
omitted group for each of the work variables. Since the
concern of this research was the effect of maternal employ¬
ment, comparisons of the effect of full time work to other
employment patterns were of the greatest interest. Sup¬
pressing the category "full time work" provided estimates
of change in the dependent variables resulting from a
decrease in the extent of maternal employment. Alterna¬
tive strategies for analyzing nominal data include using
F-tests for equality of means at each level of the inde¬
pendent variable or treating the work variables as
ordinal, enabling estimates of the effect of change
throughout the range of the work variables.

82
One hypothesis predicted that the influence of
mothers' attitudes on those of their children would be
mediated by maternal employment. Recall from the discus¬
sion of hypotheses in Chapter IV that this was tested
using three variables identical in the parent and
student questionnaires. To examine this, it was necessary
to assess the extent to which mothers' influence differed
according to the extent of their employment after taking
into account the influence of their attitude alone and the
influence of their employment patterns alone. Interaction
terms measure the change in the relationship between one
independent variable and the dependent variable controlling
for another independent variable. This is done by comput¬
ing the cross-product of the two independent variables
(Agresti & Agresti, 1979). Significant interaction terms
would provide additional support for the hypothesis;
that is, the combined effect of maternal employment and
maternal attitudes should have a significant effect on
children's attitudes beyond their separate influences.
Logic of the Analysis
This study attempted to explain the extent to which
maternal employment contributes to the explanation of par¬
ticular attitudes and behaviors of high school students.

83
Given the complexity of human behavior, it is unlikely
that a single element fully accounts for any single out¬
come. Therefore, estimating the contribution of a
single variable to a particular outcome necessitates
taking into account the ways in which a number of factors
affect the dependent variable.
Each of the models in this study was initially exam¬
ined with the work variables entered into the equation
first. This made it possible to estimate the relation¬
ship between the dependent variables and maternal employ¬
ment alone, and also to examine the relationships in the
full models. A bivariate relationship that does not
change as control variables are introduced is an indica¬
tion that the control variables are not influential in
the model- The Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 1979)
provides the sums of squares in additive form and also as
the unique contribution of each variable in the equation.
By comparing these sums of squares it was possible to com¬
pare the influence of a variable dependent on its order
of entry and also on its unique contribution. A variable
may contribute substantially to a model when added first,
but if its strength diminishes when other variables are
considered, this would suggest that there is little

84
practical contribution of this variable to the model.
On the other hand, if the contribution of a variable to
the model does not change according to its placement in
the equation, the coefficient for that variable repre¬
sents its independent contribution to an explanation of
change in the dependent variable net of the effects of
the other variables in the model.

CHAPTER V
FINDINGS
To recapitulate, this research explored possible im¬
pacts of maternal employment on children within the frame
of two hypotheses. The first predicted that, as mothers
spend a larger share of their time engaged in gainful
employment, their attitudes would be Jess congruent with
those expressed by their children. Second, some effects
of maternal employment may be contingent upon the sex of
the child. The present study explored two of these ef¬
fects. Maternal employment affects the amount of socially
unacceptable behavior exhibited by children, especially
sons. Also, children of working mothers should express
more careerist orientations than children of nonworking
mothers. This should be particularly important for
daughters. The sample on which the analysis was based
is first described; then the results of the tests for each
of the hypotheses are presented.
85

86
Sample Characteristics
The first tables in this chapter summarize charac¬
teristics of the sample used in the analysis. Table
5-1 presents the means and standard deviations for all
variables other than the three maternal employment
variables. Tables 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4 describe in detail
the work patterns of the mothers in the sample. Table 5-5
presents zero order correlations for all of the variables.
The subsample used in this study consists of 48.6%
females and 51.4% males. Students were asked to report
their average grades in percentages. The mean score on
this variable was 81.2, interpreted as 81.2%.
The social class scores were standardized within
each grade level. This was done by the U.S. Dept, of
Education (1980) in High School and Beyond. The
average score of .966 with a range of -2C to 20 re¬
flects this standardization process. The standard
deviation of this variable was 7.076. A major short¬
coming of previous research in this area has been the
limited operationalization of the social class variable.
The data set enabled this study to examine families
from every social class group in a single analysis.

87
Table 5-1. Means and Standard Deviations (SD) of
Variables.
Variables
N
Mean
SD
Independent Variables
STUDENTS:
Sex (females=0, males=l)
3611
.486
.500
Grades in school (in %)
3673
80.62
8
. 95
Social class (-2C to 20)
3673
.966
7
.076
Siblings in house
(false=0, true=l)
3700
.850
. 361
Talk to friends on telephone
Rarely talks on phone
3682
.187
.221
Talks less than once week
3682
.261
.234
Talks once/twice week
3682
.513
.288
PARENTS:
*Working mother as good as non¬
working (l=st agree, 4=st
disagree)
1789
2.422
.840
*Men work women stay home (l=st
agree, 4=st disagree)
1801
2.521
.834
*Women usually happier at home
l=st agree, 4=st disagree)
1794
2.468
.767
Dependent Variables
**Working mothers as good as non¬
working (l=st agree, 4=st
disagree)
1789
2.387
. 848
**Men work and women stay home
(l=st agree, 4=st disagree)
1801
2.473
.830
**Women usually happier at home
(l=st agree, 4=st disagree)
1794
2.523
.745
Behavior Index: Males
1720
.682
.852
Females
1832
.493
.729
Age expect marry: Males
1555
23.35
2
. 644
Females
1747
22.44
2
.611
Age 1st child: Males
1471
25.06
2
.754
Females
1633
24.51
2
.660
*Asked of parents of sophomores only.
**Asked of sophomore respondents only.

88
Table 5-2. Cross-Classification of Employment Patterns
for Mothers Who Did Not Work Before Their
Children Were in Elementary School.
During High School
No
work
Part
time
Full
time
Row N
Row %
During
N
N
N
Elementary
%
o
"o
%
School
No work
813
434
213
1460
35.53
18.97
9.31
63.81
Part time
63
272
242
577
2.75
11.89
10.85
25.22
Full time
25
20
206
251
1.09
0.87
9.00
10.79
N
901
726
661
2288
%
39.37
31.73
29.16

89
Table 5-3. Cross-Classification of Employment Patterns
for Mothers Who Worked Part-Time Before
Their Children Were in Elementary School.
During
Hiqh School
No
work
Part
time
Full
time
Row N
Row %
During
N
N
N
Elementary
School
o
"5
Q.
*5
0
*o
No work
37
13
6
56
8.37
2.94
1.36
12.67
Part time
35
152
89
276
7.92
34.39
20.14
62.44
Full time
8
5
97
110
1.81
1.13
21.95
24.89
N
80
170
192
442
%
18.10
38.46
43.45

90
Table 5-4. Cross-Classification of Employment Patterns
for Mothers Who Worked Full Time Before
Their Children Were in Elementary School.
During High School
No
work
Part
time
Full
time
Row N
Row %
During
N
N
N
Elementary
%
%
%
School
No work
47
17
10
74
7.78
2.81
1.66
12.25
Part time
23
36
19
78
3.81
5.96
3.15
12.91
Full time
40
40
372
452
6.62
6.62
61.59
74.83
N
110
93
401
604
%
18.21
15.39
66.40

Table 5-5. Zero Order Correlation Coefficients.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7a
Work preschool
1.000
.561*
.280*
.004
-.076*
-.038* -
. 038*
Work elementary school
1.000
. 575*
-.004
-.091*
-.046* -
.082*
Work high school
1.000
.020
-.015
-.030
.032
Sex of student
1.000
.030
-.192* -
.035*
Class
. 134*
. 022
Grades
1.000
.022
Siblings
1
.000
al = work preschool; 2
= work elementary
school;
3 = work high school; 4 =
sex of
student; 5 = class; 6
= grades
attained;
7 = siblings at
: home.
Peers
Parent
Parent
Parent
Student
Student
Work
Man
Woman
Work
Man
mother
work
home
mother
work
Work preschool
.008
-.250*
. 102*
.086*
-.137*
.050*
Work elementary school
.013
-.298*
. 186*
.150*
-.161*
.119*
Work high school
.001
-.234*
. 199*
. 171*
-.102*
. 162*
Sex
- . 276*
.056*
-.042*
- .025
.069*
-.259*
Class
. 129*
.012
. 123*
. 181*
.006
. 116*
Grades
.006
.027
-.015
. 0004*
.032
.101*
Siblings
-.002
.048*
.033
.046*
-.003
.030
Peers
1.000
-.042*
.049*
.032*
.042
-.063*
Parent: work mother
1.000
-.398*
-.324*
. 170*
-.124*
Parent: work man
1.000
. 570*
-.138*
. 172*
Parent: woman in home
-.108*
.218*
Student: work mother
1.000
-.222*
Student: man work
1.000
â– k
Significant at .05 level.

Table 5-5 continued
Student
woman
home
Behavior
Index
Age marry
Age first
child
Work preschool
.020
.009
-.007
.019
Work elementary school
.047
.016
-.022
.002
Work high school
.074*
.025
-.032
-.017
Sex
-.197*
. 640*
.085*
. 090*
Class
. 172*
.033*
. 040*
.023
Grades
. 183*
-.302*
-.064*
-.078*
Siblings
-.002
-.042*
-.008
-.008
Peers
.078*
-.011
-.045*
-.016
Parent: work mother
-.068*
-.039*
-.023
-.030
Parent: man work
.094*
. 020
.047*
.034
Parent: woman in home
.166*
.023
.056*
.057*
Student: work mother
-.133*
.064*
-.005
-.018
Student: man work
. 484*
-.073*
.003
.015
Student: woman in home
1.000
-.079*
-.000
.008
Behavior
1.000
.060
.023
Cut classes
.018
.042*
Age marry
1.000
.752*
Age first child
1.000
* Significant at .05 level.

to

93
Regarding family composition, 85% of the students
had siblings living at home with them at the time of
the study. This means that only 15% of the sample may
be the youngest and only children, the only categories
that would have no siblings in the home.
Evidence has suggested that white children from
intact families may perform better in school than
children from other backgrounds (Crowley, 1976). Some
research has shown that ordinal position may affect
grades, in that earlier birth order seems conducive to
higher academic achievement (Hayes & Kammerman, 1983).
It is important to keep in mind the particular charac¬
teristics of the group of students used for the present
study and the potential influence of those characteris¬
tics on the results of this analysis.
Three identical questions concerning maternal em¬
ployment were asked of sophomores and their parents.
As is evidenced in Table 5-1 (p. 87), students and
parents had similar mean scores on all questions. The
standard deviations were also similar for these par¬
ticular variables. This suggests that student responses
were about the same as parent responses on these issues,
although this does not necessarily indicate that

94
students and their own parents expressed the same atti¬
tudes .
Three questions regarding school-related behaviors
were combined to form a behavior index. A score of zero
("false") on all three items meant that students did
not have serious trouble with the law, were not suspend¬
ed from school, and were not truant during the school
year. A maximum score of three meant that students
responded "true" to all three questions. The mean score
for males on this index was .682 and the standard
deviation was .856; for females, the mean score was
.493 and the standard deviation was .729. Females
scored somewhat lower on the index, indicating that on
average they commit these behaviors less often than males.
Another set of questions asked students to
estimate in years at what age they would marry and have
their first child. The predicted age at marriage for
daughters was 22.44 years and the standard deviation
was 2.611, versus 23.35 and 2.644, respectively, for
sons. The mean score regarding daughters' age at the
birth of their first child was 24.51 with a standard
deviation of 2.660. The daughters in this sample
planned to time the birth of their first child when they

95
were close to 25 years old. The average predictions
made by this sample of teenagers regarding both age at
marriage and at the birth of their first child are some¬
what higher than the current national figures (U.S. Dept,
of Commerce, 1982), although not as dissimilar to
government projections (U.S. Dept, of Commerce, 1983)
for ages of marriage and birth of first child in the next
decade. Sons on average expected to be 25.06 years old
at the birth of their first child. The standard devia¬
tion of male scores on this variable was 2.754. The age
differences between males and females are also similar
to government projections (U.S. Dept, of Commerce, 1983).
Maternal Employment Patterns
Tables 5-2, 5-3, and 5-4 (pp. 88-90) display employ¬
ment patterns of mothers in this study. Table 5-2
shows employment patterns during children's elementary
school years and high school years for the 2,288 mothers
(68.63% of the total sample of mothers) who were not em¬
ployed before their children entered elementary school.
Table 5-3 displays the employment patterns during
children's elementary school and high school year for the
442 mothers (13.27% of the total sample) who were em¬
ployed part time before their children entered

96
elementary school. Table 5-4 (p. 90) shows employment
patterns during children's elementary school and high
school year for 604 mothers (18.12% of the total sample)
who were full time employees during the period before
their children entered elementary school. Because per¬
centages were rounded to the nearest hundredth, column
and row totals may not always sum to 100.
Table 5-2 (p. 88) reports that, of the mothers who
did not work before their children were in elementary
school, 35.53% remained out of the work force during
the years when their children were in elementary and high
school. This group of mothers is of particular impor¬
tance to this study in that they represent one extreme
in a labor force participation continuum, those who were
not employed during their children's lives. This group
of 813 mothers comprised 24.39% of the total sample of
3,334 participants.
Table 5-2 also indicates that 9% of the mothers
who were not employed during their children's preschool
years joined the work force full time when their children
were in elementary school and continued to work full time
when their children were in high school. Another 9.31%
of the total sample of mothers remained out of the labor

97
force while their children were in elementary school and
went back to work full time when their children were in
high school.
Table 5-3 (p. 89) displays the work patterns of
mothers who were employed on a part-time basis before
their children were in elementary school. This group
represents 13.26% of the total sample. Nearly 22% of
these women joined the labor force full time when their
children entered elementary school and remained employed
when their children were in high school. Of those
mothers who worked part-time during their children's
preschool years, 34.39% retained their status as part
time workers during their children's high school years.
An additional 20.14% of mothers who were part time
workers during their children's preschool and elementary
school years joined the labor force on a full time
basis when their children were in high school.
Table 5-4 (p. 90) describes the work patterns for
children whose mothers were full time workers before
their children were in elementary school. This group
represents 18.12% of the total sample. Of this group,
7.78% of the mothers dropped out of the labor force when
their children entered elementary school and did not

98
return to work. Additionally, 6.62% of this group
worked throughout the years when their children were in
elementary school but not during the high school years
of their children.
Mothers which are of particular interest in this
table are those who worked full time before their
children were in elementary school and continued this
employment pattern throughout their children's school
years. These mothers number 372 (11.16%) of the total
sample in this group. Referring back to Table 5-2 (p.
88), another 813 mothers (24.39%) of the total sample
were not gainfully employed at any time.
Looking at the maternal work patterns as a con¬
tinuum, 11.18% of the mothers were continually employed
full time throughout their children's lives. At the
other end of the continuum, 24.39% of the mothers were
not employed at any time. The remaining 64.37% of
mothers in this study reported various work patterns
between the extremes of consistent full time participa¬
tion in the labor force and no participation in the
labor force at any time.
Table 5-5 (p. 91) presents the zero order correla¬
tion matrix for all variables used in the study. The

99
computer program SAS follows a protocol of pairwise
deletion. If a case has a missing value on a variable
for either member of a pair, that case is dropped from
the calculation of that particular correlation. For
this reason, the number of cases used for computations
may vary slightly. It should also be remembered that
one group of variables, those which asked parents and
their children about their attitudes on maternal employ
ment, were asked only of sophomores. For these varia¬
bles, the number of cases used in the analysis will be
only about one-half of that used in other calculations.
In the correlation procedure, this will affect
significance levels of particular variable combinations
Since association is a necessary condition for
causality (Asher, 1976), it is useful to examine the
zero order correlations between the variables as they
were used to test the hypotheses in this study. The
correlations between the students' attitudes toward
maternal employment and maternal work patterns were
significant at the .05 level throughout the categories
of all three work periods: before entering school,
during elementary school years, and during high school
for two of the attitude variables ("Working mothers

100
can be as good as nonworking mothers" and "Men should
achieve outside the home and women should achieve inside
the home"). The third variable ("Women are usually
happier at home") was significantly correlated with
the maternal employment pattern only during the time
when the children were in high school.
Each of these correlations indicates that, as the
extent of maternal employment increases, the responses
of children on these attitude questions change as well.
In the first of these variables, unfavorable opinions
toward a particular aspect of maternal employment
(the ability of a working mother to be as good as a non¬
working mother) are represented by "agree" and "strongly
agree" (coded 1 and 2). In the other two attitude
variables regarding men achieving outside the home and
whether or not women are happier inside the home,
responses that are unfavorable toward maternal employ¬
ment are represented by "disagree" and "strongly dis¬
agree." The fact that the correlations between maternal
work patterns and the first variable (regarding maternal
employment attitudes) are inverse and that the relation¬
ships between maternal work patterns and the other
variables are positive, indicates support for the first

101
hypothesis in this study. There are no significant
correlations between maternal employment patterns and
the other dependent variables used in this analysis.
The theory presented in Chapter II also suggested
that males and females may be differentially affected
by maternal employment. The correlations presented in
Table 5-5 (pp. 91-92) indicate that sex is associated
with each of the dependent variables. The positive
signs of these coefficients indicate that the mean score
on the dependent variable is significantly higher for
males than for females. The importance of these asso¬
ciations will be discussed as the findings for each
hypothesis are presented.
Findings;
Attitudes Toward Maternal Employment
Table 5-6 summarizes the effects of maternal employ
ment on children's attitudes. This was measured using
standard multiple regression testing the following model
E(Y) = a+bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx
11 22 33 44 55 66 77 88 99
+ b x + b x
10 10 11 11
where:
Y = Student's response to attitude question
x-^ = Parent's response on same question

102
Table 5-6. Regression of Maternal Employment, Maternal
Attitude, and Background Characteristics on
Children's Attitudes--Partial Regression
Coefficients and Standard Errors.
Independent Variables
Dependent Variables5
12 3
Intercept
1.568
(.211)
2.245
( .222)
1.753
(.199)
Parental response on same
question (l=st agree,
. 096*
. 143*
. Ill*
4=st disagree)
( . 023)
( .029)
( .024)
Work before school:
None
. 161*
.006
-.014
s. e.
( .066)
( .067)
( .057)
Part time
.084
.045
.023
s. e.
(.082)
( .027)
( .071)
Work elementary
None
.168*
-.059
-.018
s. e.
( .074)
( .57)
( .064)
Part time
.037
-.027
.077
s. e.
( .069)
( .070)
( .060)
Work high school
None
-.066
-.201*
.-053
s. e.
( .061)
(.061)
(.054)
Part time
.013
-.147*
-.094
s. e.
( .058)
( .058)
( .051)
Sex (0=female, l=male)
. 132*
-.448*
-.276*
s. e.
( . 046)
(.046)
( .041)
Grades
.004
. 002
.009*
s. e.
( .002)
(.002)
( .002)
Social class
-.004
.010*
.014*
s. e.
( . 003)
( .003)
( .003)

103
Table 5-6 continued
Independent Variables
Dependent
Variables3
Siblings at home (0=no,
l=yes)
-.016
.018
-.076
s. e.
(.063)
( .062)
( .056)
Rarely talk to friends
on phone
-.065
. 148*
.047
s. e.
( .073)
( .074)
( .065)
Talk on phone at least
once a week
. 122
-.014
-.054
s. e.
( . 054)
( .071)
( . 064)
Talk on phone once/twice
a week
-.002
.012
.036
s. e.
( .085)
(.054)
( .048)
N =
1535
1392
1474
R2 =
. 052 .
.123
.103
al = Working mothers as good as nonworking mothers
2 = Men work, women stay home
3 = Women happier at home
* = Significant at the .05 level.

104
= Maternal employment before elementary school
Xg = Maternal employment during elementary school
x^ = Maternal employment during high school
X5 = Sex of the student
xg = Social class score of the family
x-j = Grades of the student
Xg = Siblings at home
Xg = Rarely talks to friends on the telephone
x-^q = Talks to friends on the telephone less than
once a week
x^g = Talks to friends on the telephone once or
twice a week
In the first equation, the dependent variable is the
students' attitudes regarding the ability of working
mothers to be as good as mothers who do not work. In
this variable, a traditional response is represented by
response categories 3 = "disagree" and 4 = "strongly
disagree." The model tested was able to explain 5.2%
of the total variance in the dependent variable. When
entered into the equation first, the three work variables
explained 1.7% of the total variance. The covariates
accounted for the remaining 3.5% of the total variance.

105
When entered into the equation after the covariates,
the maternal work variables explain 1.6% of the total
variance, slightly less than they explain when entered
first. Recalling the discussion in Chapter IV on the
order of entry of variables into an equation, this in¬
dicates that the extent of the impact of maternal
employment on the dependent variable is not influenced
by other variables in the equation. Recall, also, that
Chapter IV provided a rationale for entering the maternal
employment variables first into the equations in this
study. The order of entry of the maternal employment
variables is consistent with the order followed in the
equation currently under discussion unless stated
otherwise.
Maternal employment before the children were in
school by itself accounted for 1.2% of the total variance
when entered first into the equation. The only employ¬
ment category of this variable which was statistically
significant was that in which mothers did not work during
their children's preschool years when compared to the
omitted cateqory, those children whose mothers were
employed full time during this period. The extent of
work during the children's elementary school years

106
accounted for an additional .46% of the total variance
when added after the employment during preschool but be¬
fore the employment during high school variable. The
maternal employment pattern during the children's high
school years was able to contribute an additional .04%
to the total variance when added after the employment
during elementary school but before the covariates.
Of the covariates in this equation, one which was
significant was the parental response on the same ques¬
tion. This variable, entered immediately preceding the
maternal employment variables, explained 1.6% of the
total variance. The positive sign of this coefficient
indicates that a numerical increase in the response code
yields a slight increase in the intercept value. Al¬
though the intercept value alone has no practical sig¬
nificance, multiple regression provides an indication of
the direction of the influence variables have in a model
Recalling that for this equation th e responses "dis¬
agree" (coded 3) and "strongly disagree" (coded 4) repre
sent traditional responses, one can see that an increase
in parent traditional response led to an increase in
student traditional response. The only other
variable which was significant in this equation was sex

107
of the student respondent. As in the covariate just dis¬
cussed, the positive direction of this coefficient sug¬
gests that females were more likely to express more
traditional responses than males.
As discussed in Chapter IV, variable coefficients are
interpreted as the amount of change in the dependent vari¬
able caused by a one unit change in that variable. Thus,
the mean of the dependent variable is predicted to be .161
units higher for students with mothers who were not em¬
ployed during the years before their children were in
school rather than for those whose mothers were employed
full time, controlling for the other variables in the
model. Recalling that there are four response categories
or units in the dependent variable, the difference in the
attitudes expressed by those students whose mothers worked
full time during their preschool years compared to those
of students whose mothers did not work during this period
is minimal. Thus, while this variable may be statistical¬
ly significant (due to the large number of respondents),
it has little practical significance in explaining
variance in the dependent variable.
The second dependent variable was the question
which asked the respondents if it was better for men

108
to work outside the house and for women to stay at home.
Thus, agreement represents a traditional response. This
model was able to explain a total of 12.38% of the vari¬
ance in the dependent variable. When introduced first
in the equation, the work variables together could
explain only 1.5% of the total variance.
None of the variables representing maternal employ¬
ment patterns during their children's preschool years
and elementary school years were significant. Maternal
work patterns during the years when the students were in
high school explained .7% of the variance when added
after the other work variables describing maternal work
patterns during children's preschool and elementary
school years. Observing the coefficients in this equa¬
tion, one can see that only work patterns during the
high school years were significant. The coefficient for
part time work during high school, which is actually a
comparison of those students whose mothers worked part
time with those whose mothers worked full time, added
-.147 to the intercept. This actually decreased the
intercept score, suggesting a move toward disagree¬
ment or a nontraditional response. The coefficient
for no work during this period, which is a comparison of

109
those students whose mothers did not work during this
period with those students whose mothers worked full
time, increases the intercept by .201 units.
Regarding the covariates, the sex of the respondent,
entered immediately following the parental attitude
variable and the maternal employment variables, was the
main influence in this model, contributing 4.6% of the
total variance. The negative sign of the coefficient
indicates that being male decreases the intercept score.
Recalling that traditional responses are represented by
scores of 1 and 2, the direction of this coefficient
indicates more traditional responses among males.
Parental response on the same question also had a
significant influence in the model. The coefficient for
this variable was .143. The fact that the coefficient
was positive suggests that, as parents' responses are
more traditional, so are their children's.
Furthermore, in this equation one category of the
peer affiliation variable was significant. Peer affilia¬
tion was measured on the basis of how frequently students
talked to their friends on the telephone. In this equa¬
tion, the difference between the extreme categories
(rarely talking on the telephone and talking daily on the

110
telephone) was significant. The coefficient added .148
to the intercept, suggesting that low peer affiliation
tends toward increasingly traditional responses. The
fact that the maternal work variables together could
only explain 1.5% of the total variance in the dependent
variable suggests that maternal employment has little to
do with the relationship between mothers' and children's
attitudes as estimated by this variable.
These findings offer little support for the hypothe¬
sis that maternal employment affects the amount of in¬
fluence mothers have on the attitudes expressed by
their children.
In the third equation, traditionalism is represent¬
ed by response categories 1 and 2. This variable asks
the respondent's opinion as to whether or not women are
usually happier in the home rather than at work. The
maternal employment variables were able to explain
.06% of the variance in this equation. None of these
variables was significant.
Sex had a significant effect in this equation, when
entered after the maternal employment variables, and
explained 6.4% of the variance. Males were more tradi¬
tional in their responses than females. Parental

Ill
attitude also had a significant although minor effect.
Nontraditional responses of parents slightly increased
the nontraditional responses of students. Social class
and academic achievement were also significant. Higher
scores on each of these indicate more nontraditional
responses.
Table 5-7 shows that the responses of parents on at¬
titude questions identical to those asked of their chil¬
dren were significant in all three models. The possibil¬
ity that there is a unique effect produced by the combina¬
tion of the maternal attitude variables with the maternal
work variables was investigated. To do so, the interac¬
tion terms of the parental attitude variables and the ma¬
ternal work variables were entered last into the model.
Interaction Terms
Contribution and significance of the interaction
terms were estimated using the F statistic. These tests
examined the effects of the interaction of maternal em¬
ployment and various parental attitudes on the attitudes
of the students. Significant interaction terms would
indicate that maternal employment patterns and parental
attitudes together have an impact on student attitudes
beyond their separate influence. The interaction terms

112
Table 5-7. F Values for Interaction Terms of Maternal
Work Categories and Parental Attitudes on
the Attitudes of Their Children.
Dependent Variables
Children's Attitudes
Working mother as good
as nonworking mother
Interaction of Parental F
Attitude3 1 and (P)
Work before school .42
(.656)
Work during elementary school 1.28
(. 278)
Work during high school 1.01
(. 365)
Men should work, women
Interaction of Parental should stay home
Attitude 2 and
Work before school 1.09
(.336)
Work during elementary school 1.37
(.256)
Work during high school .27
(.761)
Interaction of Parental Women are happier at home
Attitude3 3 and
Work before school .49
(.613)
Work during elementary school 2.10
(.123)
Work during high school 1.49
( .227
31 = Working mother as good as nonworking mother
2 = Men work, women stay home
3 = Women happier at home

113
were not significant for any of the equations. For
this reason, only results of the main effects models are
reported.
The model depicted in Figure 1 (p. 51) was also run
separately for males and females. Each of the equations
used to test this model was also run, including the sex
of the parental respondent. The results of these did not
provide any stronger information than the full equations
presented here.
Extreme Cases
These equations compared outcomes for students at
the extreme ends of the employment continuum. Students
whose mothers were employed full time throughout their
lives were compared to students whose mothers had not
been gainfully employed during any period of their
children's lives. The hypothesis which these equations
tested predicted that an increase in maternal employment
would lead to a decrease in the agreement of attitudes
between parents and their children. One way to test
this hypothesis is through the examination of extreme
cases. That is, to compare the degree of congruence in
those families where mothers have been employed full time
throughout their children's lives to the congruence in

114
those families in which the mother has never been em¬
ployed. Tables 5-8 and 5-9 present the results of this
comparison.
In table 5-8, the extreme maternal work patterns
are represented by the variable Worka. This includes
those student respondents whose mothers worked full time
throughout all three periods in their children's lives
(coded 0) and those whose mothers did not work in any
period of their children's lives (coded 1). The varia¬
ble labeled Relat indicates the sex of the parent
respondent. Fathers were coded 3 and mothers coded 1.
By comparing the means and standard deviations pre¬
sented in Table 5-8 to those of the entire sample present¬
ed in Table 5-1 (p. 87), it can be seen that the sub¬
sample of extreme cases is much like the larger sample
as described by these statistics. Comparing the zero
order correlations in Table 5-8 to those in Table 5-5
(pp. 91-92), one can see that in both tables the atti¬
tudes toward maternal employment expressed by both
parents and children are significantly correlated to the
work patterns of mothers. In both tables, the sex of
the student respondent is significantly correlated with
most of the other variables.

Table 5-8
Extreme Cases of Maternal Employment--Full Time Throughout Children's
Lives and No Work in Any Period of Children's Lives—and Background
Characteristics on Children's Attitudes; Correlations, Means, and
Standard Deviations.
Variables
Worka
Relat
Comses
Sex
Grades
HHBS
Phone
Pworkm
Pmanach
Pwohome
Workmo
Manach
Womhom
Relat
.157*
Comses
.148*
-.011
Sex
.004
.001
.029
Grades
.056*
.004
.134*
-.192*
HHBS
.115*
-.018
.022
-.035*
.022
Phone
-.006
-.014
.101*
-.237*
-.002
-.005
Pworm
.355*
-.044
.012
.056*
.027
.047*
-.053*
Pmanach
-.151*
-.062
.123*
-.042*
-.016
.033
.044
-.398*
Wohome
-.125*
-.049*
.180*
-.025*
.01
.044
.037
-.324
.570*
Workmo
.197*
-.022
.005
.069*
.032
.003
-.042
.170*
-.138
-.108*
Manach
-.095*
-.011
.116*
-.259*
. 100*
.030
.042
-.124*
.172*
.218*
-.222*
Womhom
-.033
.042
.172*
-.197*
.183*
-.022
-.033
-.068*
.094*
.166*
-.113*
.484
Means
.763
2.173
.971
.494 1
B0.119
.812
3.006
2.580
2.008
2.499
.280
2.562
2.699
Standard
.425
4.512
7.083
.500
9.016
.359
1.159
1.033
.770
.856
.881
.798
.714
Deviation
* Significant at .05 level.

116
Table 5-9. Regression of Extreme Cases of Maternal Em¬
ployment and Background Characteristics on
Children's Attitudes--Partial Regression
Coefficients and Standard Errors.
Dependent
Variables3
Independent Variables
1
2
3
Intercept
1.688
2.329
1.772
( .286)
( . 302)
( . 279)
Worka (0=full time, l=not
.288*
-.176*
-.070
work) s.e.
( . 070)
( .070)
( . 060)
Sex of parent resp.
.027
-.007
. 001
s.e.
( .028)
( . 029)
( .026)
Comses
. 002
.011*
.016*
s.e.
( . 004)
( .004)
( .004)
Sex
. 154*
-.499*
-.332*
s.e.
( . 061)
(.062)
( .057)
Grades
.001
.002
. 009*
s.e.
( .003)
(.003)
( .003)
Siblings in house
.080
-.044
-.116
s.e.
( .081)
( .081)
( .075)
Rarely talk on phone
. 077
-.067
.007
s.e.
( .073)
( .074)
( .067)
Talk once/week
.059
-.017
.018
s.e.
(.095)
( .094)
( . 083)
Talk 1-2 times/week
-.083
. 192
. 124
s.e.
(.031)
( .097)
( .087)
Parent attitude
. 084*
. 120*
.096*
s.e.
(.031)
( . 038)
(.034)
N =
872
807
834
R2 =
. 061
. 124
. 106
al = Working mothers as good as nonworking mothers
2 = Men work, women stay home
3 = Women happier at home
* Significant at the .05 level.

117
In the first equation, 6.1% of the total variance
was explained by the model. The extreme case work
variable (Worka) was significant in this equation. The
coefficient for this variable was .288. Recall that the
extreme cases were coded so that full time employment
throughout children's lives were given a value of zero
and no work during any period in children's lives was
given a value of one. The dependent variable asked if
a working mother could be as good as a nonworking
mother. For this question, responses of "disagree"
(coded 3) and "strongly disagree" (coded 4) represent
traditional responses. The maternal employment coeffi¬
cient supports the prediction that children whose mothers
work full time are more traditional in their responses
than those whose mothers have never been employed.
Two covariates were significant in this equation.
Being male increased the intercept, suggesting that
males may be more traditional than females. Also, as
parental scores increased, so did the scores of their
children. The pattern of these two variables is similar
to their effect in the model reported in Table 5-6
(pp. 102-103).

118
The second equation explained 12.4% of the total
variance in the dependent variable. The work variable
entered into the equation first explained, by itself,
.517% of the variance. Although the work variable was
statistically significant, the fact that the variable
was able to explain such a small portion of the variance
suggests an absence of any practical significance.
Sex and social class were significant in the equa¬
tion, as was the attitude of the parent. The influence
of these three variables is consistent with the findings
in the other equations displayed in Table 5-9 (p. 116).
Being male increased the mean response. Higher social
class and higher parental response also increased the
mean responses of the students.
In the third equation, 10.6% of the total variance
in the dependent variable was explained by the model.
The maternal work variable accounted for .095% of the
total variance. It was not significant.
In the first equation, the Worka coefficient is
positive and in the other two equations it is negative.
The difference in the signs actually reflects a consist¬
ent effect due to the working of the questions. These
questions, as well as the interpretations of the

119
coefficient signs, are discussed in Chapter IV.
Among the tests of extreme cases, the maternal em¬
ployment variables were significant in two of the three
equations. These findings provide support for the
hypothesis that maternal employment patterns influence
the attitudes expressed by their children. However, con¬
sidering that one of the equations accounted for only
6.1% of the total variance and in another the maternal
employment variable was not significant, these findings
cannot be considered strongly supportive.
Findings:
Behavioral Outcomes
An additive index comprising three behaviors was
used to test Hypothesis 2A. These behaviors include
having serious trouble with the law, truancy from
school, and occasionally cutting classes. This was
tested using standard multiple regression techniques in
the following model. Males and females were run
separately in the following equation.
E(Y) = a+bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx
11 22 33 44 55 66 77 88 99
where:
Y = Behavior Index
x-^ = Maternal employment before school

120
x^ = Maternal employment during elementary school
x^ = Maternal employment during high school
x = Grades of the student
4
Xj. = Social class score of the family
x, = Siblinas at home
D
x^ = Rarely talks to friends on telephone
Xg = Talks to friends on telephone less than
once a week
Xg = Talks to friends on telephone once or twice
a week
(see Table 5-10)
The equation for males could account for 8.1% of the
total variance in the dependent variable. The three
maternal work variables accounted for 1.18% of the total
variance. None were significant. Table 5-5 (pp. 91-92)
presents the zero order correlation coefficients for all
of the variables. Looking back at them, one can see
that the correlation coefficients for this dependent
variable and the maternal work variables are not
significant.
Two of the covariates were significant. The coef¬
ficient for males' grades was -.024. The negative sign
indicates an inverse relationship between grades and

121
Table 5-10. Regression of Maternal Employment and Back¬
ground Characteristics on Behavior Index for
Males and Females--Partial Regression Coef¬
ficients and Standard Errors.
Independent Variables
Behavior
Males
Index
Females
Intercept
2.745
2.709
s. e.
. 199
.189
Work before school
None
.018
-.006
s. e.
.066
.056
Part time
-.027
.065
s. e.
.081
.069
Work elementary
None
.039
.015
s. e.
.076
.061
Part time
.012
.031
s. e.
.071
.058
Work high school
None
-.063
-.016
s. e.
.062
.050
Part time
-.032
-.010
s. e.
.058
.048
Grades
-.024*
-.025*
s. e.
.002
. 002
Social class
.000
.000
s. e.
.000
.000
Siblings at home
-.047
-.106*
s. e.
.057
.049
Rarely talks on phone
-.210*
-.103*
s. e.
.063
.081
Talks less than once week
-.066
-.146*
s. e.
.051
.044
Talks once/twice week
-.104
-.141*
s. e.
.064
.063
N =
1514
1599
R2 =
.081
.097
k
Significant at .05 level.

122
scores on the behavior index. An index score of zero
means that the respondent answered "false" to committing
any of the behaviors defined as negative. This rela¬
tionship suggests that, as grades increase, commission
of these behaviors decreases. The other variable which
was significant in this equation was one of the dummy
variables measuring peer affiliation. Rarely talking
to friends on the telephone compared to talking daily, the
omitted category, also decreased the commission of the
behaviors in the index. Among the variables in this
model, the only two which significantly influence the
score on the behavior index are grades; higher grades
lowered the score and a low level of peer affiliation
also lowered the index score.
This equation was also run for females. The model
accounted for 9.7% of the total variance in the be¬
havior index. The maternal work variables together ac¬
counted for 1.93% of the total variance. None were
significant.
As was the case for males, grades had a significant
effect in this equation. An increase in grades netted
a decrease in the score on the behavior index. This
pattern was also the same for males. For females,

123
three other covariates were significant. Having siblings
in the home decreased the index score. Two of the dummy
variables for peer affilition also had a significant
influence in this equation. Talking to friends once or
twice a week and talking to friends less than once a week
both were significant when compared to talking to friends
daily, the omitted category. Each coefficient was
negative, indicating that these levels of peer affilia¬
tion lowered scores on the behavior index. Recall that
for males only minimal affiliation had a significant
influence.
This model could provide no support for the hypothesis
that children whose mothers work would be more likely to
score higher on the index measuring negative behaviors.
Chapter II speculated that children, especially males,
would be more likely to commit such behaviors if their
mothers were at work. It was reasoned that children
whose mothers work are influenced more heavily by their
peers than those whose mothers do not work, and that some
manifestations of this would be in the form of behaviors
defined as negative by adult society. These findings
could not support that argument.

124
Findings:
Career Orientation
Career orientation was estimated by responses to
two questions. Students were asked to predict the age
at which they would marry. Second, they were asked to
estimate how old they would be when their first child was
born. Students were divided into three groups for
analysis. The equation presented below was run for
males, for females whose mothers never worked, and for
females whose mothers worked full time throughout the
three periods in their lives defined in this study.
Career orientation was tested using standard multiple
regression in the following model:
E(Y) = a+bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx + bx
11 22 33 44 55 66 77 88 99
b x b x b x
10 10 11 11 12 12
where:
Y = Age at marriage, age at birth of first child
x-^ = Maternal employment before elementary school
x^ = Maternal employment during elementary school
x^ = Maternal employment during high school
x„ = Grades of the student
= Social class score of the family

125
x = Siblings at home
6
x7 = Rarely talks to friends on the telephone
Xg = Talks to friends on the telephone less
than once a week
x = Talks to friends on the telephone once or
twice a week
x = Parent score: Working mothers as good as
nonworking mothers
x^ = Parent score: Men work, women stay home
x12 = Parent score: Women happier at home
(see Table 5-11)
Sons
When the models were limited to males, they could only
explain 5.3% of the total variance for anticipated age at
marriage and 5.1% for anticipated age at birth of first
child. Among these two equations, only one of the maternal
employment variables was significant. Regarding the age
at which males expected to have their first child,
mothers who did not work during their sons' high school
years had a significant effect compared to those mothers
who worked full time, the omitted category. None of the
maternal attitude variables were significant in either
equation.

Table 5-11. Regression of Maternal Employment and Background Characteristics on
Anticipated Ages at Marriage and Birth of First Child for Males,
Females Whose Mothers Have Never Worked, and Females Whose Mothers
Have Worked Full Time Throughout Their Lives--Partial Coefficients
and Standard Errors.
Independent
Males
Females
Mothers Do Not
Females
Mothers Work Full
Variables
1* 2*
Work
1* 2*
Time
1* 2*
Intercept
20.91
12.02
s. e.
.811
. 592
Work before school
None
.041
-.109
s. e.
.248
.264
Part time
. 188
.261
s. e.
. 301
.283
Work elementary school
None
-.124
-.067
s. e.
.289
. 302
Part time
.024
.023
s. e.
.265
.283
Work high school
None
.432
.525**
s. e.
.225
.237
Part time
. 177
.267
s. e.
.208
.221
* 1 = Age at marriage, 2
= Age at
birth of
**Significa nt at .05 level.
126

Table 5-11 continued
Independent Males
Variables
1* 2*
Grades
s. e.
.031** .057**
Social class
.008
.012
s. e.
.021
.009
Siblings at home
.328
-.244
s. e.
.203
.216
Rarely talks on phone
-.239
-.622**
s. e.
.244
.237
Less than once a week
-.348
-.529**
s. e.
. 225
.236
Once/twice a week
-.087
-.247
s. e.
. 179
. 191
Mother's attitude
Working mother as good
as nonworking mother
-.060
.058
s. e.
.086
.091
Parent attitude
Men work, women home
- .098
.093
s. e.
. 125
. 132
* 1 = Age at marriage, 2
= Age at
birth of f
**Significant at .05 level.
Females Females
Mothers Do Not Mothers Work Full
Work Time
*
2*
1*
2*
093**
.073**
.064
.077**
012
.022
.035
.039
018
.020
.025
.029
202
-.243
. 177
.278
406
.436
.059
. 572
507**
2.123**
.244
-.382
742
.823
1.058
1.166
290
-1.094
1.279
.343
569
.600
.739
.852
038
-.150
1.104**
1.099
333
.358
.512
.598
097
.045
.280
. 338
160
.169
.234
.265
185
-.242
.266
-.066
230
. 243
.361
-.405
rst child
127

Table 5-11 continued.
Independent
Variables
Males
1* 2*
Females
Mothers Do Not
Work
1* 2*
Females
Mothers Work Full
Time
1* 2*
Parent attitude:
Women happier home
. 115
. 101
. 301
.535**
. 151
. 367
s. e.
. 115
. 122
.207
.222
.345
.397
N =
1204
1148
341
320
128
122
R2 =
.053
.051
. 108
. 142
.091
.081
* 1 = Age at marriage, 2 = Age at birth of first child
**Significant at .05 level.

129
Grades and social class were significant in both
equations. The effects of both were positive; an in¬
crease in grades and social class may be interpreted as
an increase in the ages at which the event is expected
to occur. These were the only significant variables in
the equation which concerned age at marriage. However,
two other variables—both dummy variables regarding peer
affiliation--were significant in the other equation.
Compared to talking to friends daily, rarely talking to
friends on the telephone and talking less than once a
week decreased the anticipated age at the birth of the
first child.
Daughters of Nonworking Mothers
Turning to the results of the equations run for
females whose mothers were not employed, the models were
able to explain 10.8% of the total variance in the case
of anticipating age at marriage and 14.2% of the total
variance in the case of anticipating age at the birth
of one's first child. Among both of these equations,
only one of the maternal attitude variables was signifi¬
cant .
In the equation which asked expected age at
marriage, only a single covariate was significant.

130
The dummy variable that indicated the influence of talk¬
ing to friends on the telephone once or twice a week
relative to talking to friends daily added to the inter¬
cept score, indicating that this level of embeddedness
increases the age at which marriage is anticipated. In
the equation regarding age at the birth of one's first
child, the only significant variable was grades. The
sign of this coefficient indicated that as grades in¬
creased so did age at which the birth of the first child
was expected.
Theoretical speculations presented in Chapter II
regarding the influence of parental role models led to
the prediction that daughters should be more influenced
than sons in their own career orientations. The fact
that these models are able to explain more of the
variance among the two subgroups of females than among
males supports this prediction.
Another perspective, also presented in Chapter II,
reasoned that, when mothers are the primary socializers
of their children, they are a powerful force in that
process. To the extent that the mother-child relation¬
ship departs from this tradition, as in the case of
maternal employment, the relative influence of the

131
mother should diminish. Comparing daughters whose
mothers have never worked to those whose mothers have
worked full time throughout their lives provides a test
of this theory. According to this theory, mothers who
do not work and believe that mothers should not work
should have the most powerful impact on the career orien¬
tations of their daughters, because they are their
primary socializers and provide a role model of a non¬
working mother. This prediction would be supported by
higher significance of the parental attitude variables
for females whose mothers have never worked than for
those whose mothers have worked full time throughout the
three periods in their lives. The results of these
tests could not support this relationship.
Maternal Employment and Its
Impact on Children
The results of this analysis were not able to sup¬
port any of the hypotheses. Maternal employment appears
to have no effect on the attitudes children express.
According to the findings in Table 5-6 (pp. 102-103) ,
there is little evidence that children of nonworking
mothers are influenced more by their parents than
children whose mothers are employed. This lack of ef¬
fect is consistent throughout all three periods in

132
children's lives. There is also no significant change
in the impact of part time versus full time employment
for these data.
Hypothesis 2A predicted that certain types of be¬
haviors would be more prevalent among sons than among
daughters on the basis of maternal employment patterns.
Again, there was no support for this hypothesis. None
of the work variables were able to contribute to the
explanation of variance in the dependent variable in
either equation.
Hypothesis 2B predicted that career orientations
expressed by daughters more so than sons would be influ¬
enced by the work patterns of their mothers. The re¬
sults of these equations were not able to support the
prediction that maternal work patterns were influential
in determining the career orientations expressed by
daughters.

CHAPTER VI
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS
FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
This research explored some ways in which maternal
employment might affect children. The hypotheses tested
centered around the differential influence of employed
versus nonemployed mothers with respect to children's
behaviors and attitudes.
Children's Attitudes
The initial hypothesis predicted that the attitudes
of mothers would be more influential on those expressed
by their children when mothers were not employed than when
they were employed. An important portion of the sociali¬
zation process involves inculcating children with values
that are manifested in the attitudes they express. This
process should be more thoroughly accomplished by mothers
who are at home full time than by those who are absent
for extended periods. This hypothesis was tested using
three dependent variables. Each variable asked students
to report their attitudes on various dimensions of the
issue of maternal employment. Parents were also asked
133

134
to report their views on these same issues. This made
it possible to examine the influence of maternal employ¬
ment on the congruence of attitudes expressed by mothers
and their children. The findings of this study were
not able to support the hypothesis that influence is
greater when mothers are not gainfully employed than
when mothers are employed outside the home.
Difference in Behavior
A second hypothesis predicted behavioral dif¬
ferences in children on the basis of maternal employment.
One consequence of maternal employment may be that
children of working mothers do not receive as intense
a level of socialization as those children whose mothers
are at home full time (Moore, 1975). This may be par¬
ticularly important for males. Researchers (Currant
et al., 1979) have suggested that males experience
greater pessure to control more of their behaviors than
females. A weakening in the process of socialization
should be evidenced in behavioral differences on the
basis of maternal employment.
An index comprising three behaviors was used to
test this hypothesis. Males and females, tested
separately, were asked if they occasionally cut classes,

135
if they had had any discipline problems in school, and
if they had had serious trouble with the law. None of
the maternal employment variables were significant.
There was no indication that maternal work patterns
influence behavioral outcomes for sons or daughters.
Maternal Employment and Careerism
Working mothers present a different role model for
their children than nonworking mothers. However, ac¬
cording to the first hypothesis, nonworking mothers
should be more influential in the attitudes expressed
by their children than employed mothers. Accordingly,
children whose mothers have never been employed and ex¬
press the belief that mothers should not work outside
their home express traditional orientations themselves.
On the other hand, children whose mothers work, thus
providing a careerist model and also expressing a
careerist orientation, should express careerist orien¬
tations themselves. Based on the modeling theories pre¬
sented in Chapter II, this relationship should be
especially strong for daughters. This hypothesis was
tested using three groups: males, females whose mothers
had never worked, and females whose mothers had worked
full time throughout their lives. Career orientation

136
was measured by the ages at which children expected to
marry and have their first child.
The model was able to explain more of the variance
among the two groups of females than among the group
of males, as predicted. However, the prediction that
the attitudes of mothers who never worked would contri¬
bute significantly to the ages at which their daughters
expected to marry and have their first child was not
supported by these findings. Maternal attitudes of
mothers who had worked full time throughout their
daughters' lives did not contribute significantly to the
orientations expressed by their daughters.
A fuller understanding of the reasons for the lack
of significant findings may be achieved by examining
issues regarding (a) the nature of the data used in this
analysis and those which (b) surround the fundamental
research question itself. Finally, considerations for
future research must be addressed.
The Nature of the Data
The independent variables used for this research
estimated the extent of maternal employment during cer¬
tain periods in children's lives. Parents responded
that they usually worked full time, part time, or not at

137
all during each period. It may be that these classifica¬
tions were too general to uncover any impact of differ¬
ing work patterns. For example, working 10 hours a week
for 5 years may have different outcomes for children
than working 40 hours a week for 2 years. This data set
would not permit an investigation of that possibility.
There is a danger in examining work patterns during
one period in isolation from work patterns in other
periods. The category of mothers who work full time
during their children's high school years probably in¬
cludes mothers who also were full time workers during
their children's preschool years. Those included in
the category of full time workers during high school
may actually represent a number of work patterns over
children's lives. This may confound the results of
the study which used maternal work history during
children's high school years.
Although the High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of
Education, 1980) data permitted the investigation of
work patterns during various periods in children's
lives, one potentially important variable could not be
included: child care arrangements made by working
mothers. The students in this sample were preschoolers

138
in the early 1960s. In those years, less than 20% of
working mothers had their children in day care centers.
The majority of children were cared for by relatives,
friends, or neighbors. Clearly, there are differences
in the environment of a day-care center compared to the
environment in a grandmother's home. Spending 40 hours
a week with a grandmother may closely approximate 40
hours a week with one's mother. One explanation for
the lack of significant findings in this analysis may be
that maternal employment per se is not the crucial issue,
but rather the nature and quality of substitute care the
child receives. Differences in outcomes for children
according to child care arrangements cannoe be measured
using these data.
Two explanations for the failure to uncover rela¬
tionships between maternal work patterns and outcomes
for children have been suggested by the nature of the
data set used in this study. Perhaps greater precision
in specification of work patterns may be required.
This analysis was unable to control for the type of
substitute care children received when their mothers were
at work. Information on substitute caregivers may fur¬
ther clarify any patterns of effect.

139
The Nature of the Issue
There may be circumstances related to maternal em¬
ployment that nullify or obscure any effect of that em¬
ployment on children. For example, substitute care¬
givers may be less tolerant than mothers as to non-
conforming behavior in children. As such, they may
socialize children quite adequately. Thus, no particular
effects of maternal employment would be evident in
children's behavior patterns. There is also the possi¬
bility that mothers who work feel that substitute care¬
givers are just as able if not more so to socialize
their children. Similarly, mothers who stay home per¬
ceive themselves as best for the job. To the extent
that mothers' perceptions about themselves are correct,
children in either circumstance would have the most
adequate socialization.
Alternatively, there may be no effects of maternal
employment on children. It is possible that children
require a minimum amount of contact with parents in
terms of quality and quantity. Contact beyond that
amount has diminishing effects on the child. The amount
of time that children are separated from their parents

14 0
as a consequence of maternal employment may be above
such a minimum.
Effects of Substitute Care
One explanation for the failure to find differences
in children according to maternal work patterns lies
in the possible impact of substitute care. If children
are products of their environment, it is important to
consider the nature of that environment. One way to
do this is to contrast one set of circumstances with
another. By comparing rather opposite child care styles,
the implications of both become clearer. An example of
this research is the work of Moore (1975) .
Substitute caregivers have less of a vested in¬
terest in the children under their care than natural
mothers. As the difference in levels of interest
widens, caregivers should become less concerned with
long-term outcomes for the children as influenced by
their input. However, concern for immediate behavioral
outcomes is important to substitute caregivers.
Adherence to rules, for example, becomes increasingly
important compared to the children's emotional welfare.
In other words, mothers may be more vulnerable to con¬
cerns over long-term personality outcomes, whereas

141
substitute caregivers may be more interested in current
behavioral outcomes.
The extent of this difference should be associated
with the extent of relatedness. This may be in the form
of a continuum, with mothers primarily concerned with
long-term consequences on one end, and workers in day
care centers, for example, being mainly concerned with
immediate behavioral outcomes. This should also be
influenced by the number of children in one's care.
A mother with one child may be able to afford more
tolerance than a day care center in charge of 50
children. This too may form a continuum.
Emphasis in day care centers usually focuses on
conforming behavior. Under these circumstances, the
observable behavior of children socialized by someone
other than the mother may exhibit behaviors that conform
quite well to societal standards. This higher level
of conformity may give an advantage to children
socialized in day care settings. Greater encouragement
to conform during early years may be quite strongly
linked to high levels of acceptable behavior during
adulthood.

142
Alternatively, the conforming exterior of children
socialized in these ways may mask negative consequences.
In other words, part of the conformity may be a facade.
Social science variables may not be correctly specified
to uncover such differences.
Thus, one possibility is that substitute care may
actually be beneficial to children. This benefit is
a socialization that is congruent with society at large.
Another possiblity is that socialization by a substitute
caregiver produces a conforming exterior, masking
negative outcomes. It is beyond the capabilities of
this analysis to determine which sequence of events is
more likely.
Mothers' Ability to Socialize
Mothers know better than anyone else the extent of
their ability to socialize their children. They also
know better than anyone else the style of socialization
to which their children are best suited. They make
decisions about their lives and those of their children
on the basis of these perceptions.
One group of mothers may feel poorly suited to the
role of socializer. One might speculate that these
mothers believe their children are better off in the

14 3
care of someone else for two reasons. First, the
income from the mother's job would give the family addi¬
tional purchasing power. Children would then be able
to supplement their formal education with trips that
might be funded by the second paycheck. Second, these
mothers reason that people who are trained to socialize
children have more resources to draw on, increasing
their possibility of doing a better job. Furthermore,
child care professionals have chosen this as a career,
suggesting both devotion and interest as well as con¬
fidence in their abilities.
Another group of mothers may make the opposite
choice for the same reasons. Some mothers feel that
they are much more suited to socializing their children
than anyone else. For them, the sacrifice of a second
salary is worth the long-term benefits of maternal
involvement.
Both groups of women make decisions on the basis of
personal assessments of their ability to socialize
their children. Thus, the differences may not be be¬
tween children on the basis of maternal employment but
between women who choose to go to work and those who
choose not to work and stay at home. In each case,

144
their children would be socialized by the mothers'
estimate of who would be best suited for the job.
Under these circumstances, differences between the
groups of children on the basis of maternal employment
should be at a minimum.
The concept of mothers' ability to socialize their
children suggests another alternative. Mothers who
work may be able to socialize their children as well as
those who do not work. If this is the case, it is im¬
portant to consider potential outcomes for the children
of employed women. In this case, maternal employment
is a handicap for children. Those who score near the
mean on grades, for example, might fall far above the
mean if they had the advantages of maternal socializa¬
tion. Under these circumstances, maternal employment
would have the effect of actually lowering the perform¬
ance of potentially outstanding children.
To summarize these speculations on mothers'
ability to socialize their children, two possibilities
have been offered. One is that mothers who work differ
from those who do not work in their ability to socialize
children. Each group makes the decision regarding
employment in consideration of their estimate regarding

145
their ability to socialize their children. Those who work
defer socialization to those whom they assume to be more
able than themselves. Those who stay at home also pro¬
vide their children with the best socializer. The
other possibility is that mothers do not differ in their
ability to socialize. Mothers who work handicap their
potentially superior children by providing inferior
socializers. This would have the effect of obscuring
differences which might be evident if none of the mothers
worked.
Amount of Mother-Child Contact
Results of this research and studies by others sug¬
gest that children do not appear affected when mother-
child contact differs by as much as 40 hours a week.
This lack of observable differences has been reported
for children at various ages, even among preschoolers.
Traditional theories of socialization suggest that the
preschool years are critical in the process of
socialization. These theories also suggest that
parents, especially mothers, are an important part of
that process. The fact that mothers apparently can be
separated from their children for nearly 25% of the time
with no observable effects on the children suggests the
need to reexamine traditional theories.

146
One alternative estimation of the relationship be¬
tween parental involvement and socialization has been
offered by Gold and Andres (1980). Their study, re¬
viewed in Chapter III, compared parent-child relation¬
ships in families where the mother was employed to those
where the mother was not employed. The results of their
study failed to find significant differences between
these groups. In speculating on the outcome of their
study, they suggested that there may be a level of con¬
tact between fathers and children necessary for adequate
socialization. The concept suggested by the authors is
one which might be extended to the relationship between
mothers and their children. There may be some amount
of contact—in terms of quality and/or quantity--between
mothers and their children which is necessary for ade¬
quate socialization. Beyond this level, more contact
may have diminishing returns with respect to the ade¬
quacy of socialization. It may be that maternal employ¬
ment at any level is more than the necessary level of
contact for adequate socialization.
When research findings begin to suggest that, even
during the preschool years, children are not at risk
during extended absences of their mothers—as in the

147
case of maternal employment--traditional theories of
socialization need to be reviewed. One alternative to
the estimation of the high level of parental involve¬
ment is the concept of a necessary level of inter¬
action. Findings of the present study and others sug¬
gest that maternal contact can vary by as much as 40
hours a week with no measurable effect on children.
Thus, the role of parents, especially mothers, in the
process of socializing their children may not be as
pivotal as previously believed.
There is also evidence that parents are not the
only source of socialization. Other sources may be
fairly influential in this process. Research has sug¬
gested that peer relationships are an important element
in socialization. Preschool age children in day care
display strong indications of the influence of peers
(Schachter, 1981). Coleman (1961) argued that peer
relationships may be especially powerful for high school
students. Kagan (1984) has also reported the importance
of peers for the socialization of high school students.
It may be that parents constitute only a portion of
socialization and the loss of contact time with mothers
due to employment is not important in the overal process.

148
It may also be that studies using high school students
as respondents tap into a period in the socialization
process when the influence of peers is especially power¬
ful and maternal influence is at a minimum.
If maternal work patterns do affect children's
lives, these may be ameliorated by stable, satisfactory
substitute cae. Mothers' perceptions of their ability
to socialize when considering employment may obscure
any relationship. On the other hand, it is possible
that there is no significant effect on children relative
to maternal employment patterns. There may be a level
of contact with children necessary for successful
socialization. Full time employment may not represent
a segment of time great enough to affect socialization.
It is also important to consider the possibility that
outcomes for children are largely determined by forces
other than maternal socialization.
Future Research
This study was unable to specify ways in which
mothers' work patterns affect their children. In at¬
tempting to provide plausible explanations for these
results, several directions for future research became
apparent.

149
It is possible that some groups of children are af¬
fected more by working or nonworking mothers than others.
It should also be valuable to investigate in more detail
factors that cause mothers to go to work. More attention
should be paid to the broader social milieu of the fami¬
lies of interest, including the quality of substitute
care of children.
Variation Between Groups
Outcomes of maternal employment may be different
for different groups. There is some indication that
lower class sons of working mothers are at an academic
disadvantage at least in their early years. Single
parent families may also be affected in ways which are
different from two parent families. Families with one
child may have outcomes that are not the same for
families with several children.
It is difficult to control for a number of varia¬
bles simultaneously. Even with a data set as large
as the High School and Beyond (U.S. Dept, of Education,
1980), sample size dropped drastically when using only
a few controls. Use of techniques such as weighting
and cluster sampling should be useful for analyzing such
research questions.

150
Factors Causing Mothers to Work
Mothers who choose to work and do so for personal
gratification should be different from those who would
rather not work but do so out of necessity. This
distinction is difficult to operationalize. Previous
researchers have assumed that lower class and many
middle class women work for the money. Some middle
class and upper class women work for the gratification.
Although a case can be made for the distinction between
social classes, this may not be totally accurate.
Women may be employed or stay home on the basis of
their estimate of their ability to socialize their
children. This decision may or may not be heavily
affected by social class. Women who feel forced by
extraneous circumstances to work may be resentful,
regardless of the satisfaction they derive from their
work. Job satisfaction and satisfaction with the
employment role are two distinct variables and
should be treated as such.
The Social Milieu
Studies done prior to the late 1970s suggest
that mothers' attitudes toward work influenced their

151
¿laughers' sex role attitudes. More recent studies,
including the present one, have been unable to draw this
conclusion. One explanation is that individual atti¬
tudes are shaped by attitudes of the society at large
and also by norms of behavior. Two decades ago, when
working mothers--especially those with young children
--were not the norm, daughters may have been heavily
influenced by their nontraditional mothers. As maternal
employment has become more common, it has become more
difficult to sort the influence of mothers on their
daughters' attitudes from the influence of the society
at large.
Further studies concerned with possible effects of
maternal work patterns should take into account three
factors that might affect findings:
1. It is important to distinguish between groups
of families that may be more or less affected by
maternal employment.
2. There is also the need to take into account
the reasons that cause mothers to make work-related
decisions.
3. It is important to consider the social context
within which mothers make their employment decisions.

152
Analysis of the data in High School and Beyond
(U.S. Dept, of Education, 1980) did not uncover any
strong evidence that children of employed women are
significantly different from children of nonworking
women. There was no suggestion that the extent of
maternal employment was related to the extent of atti¬
tude congruence between parents and their children.
Children of working women were not consistently
distinguishable from those of nonworking women with
regard to behaviors or sex role orientations.
Conclusions
If maternal employment does affect children, the
nature of these effects remains elusive. If effects
exist and if they are to be specified, further preci¬
sion of potential relationships and the variables with
which to measure them is required.
This study was able to investigate possible impacts
of the extent of maternal employment controlling for
social class. One shortcoming in the research prior
to this analysis had been a lack of adequate specifica¬
tion of the social class variable (Bronfenbrenner &
Crouter, 1982). The sample used in this analysis was a
stratified random sample of high school sophomores

153
and seniors throughout the contiguous United States.
As such, this sample is representative of the high
school population in this society. Much of the previous
research dealing with maternal employment has used
small samples which were likely to be homogeneous on
important issues. This large data set, gathered from
across the nation, reflected the heterogeneity of the
population. Furthermore, the size of the sample per¬
mitted the use of a number of controls simultaneously.
The use of multiple controls has been rare for studies
of this nature.
The present study did not find any consistent in¬
dication that children are differentially affected on
the basis of their mothers' work histories. These re¬
sults are consistent with many previous findings. More
importantly, these results were derived from a data
set with a number of characteristics missing from
previous analyses. A large, nationally representative
sample suggests that these findings might be general¬
ized to a broad portion of the population. The social
class variable was more fully operationalized than in
previous analyses. Data on maternal work patterns
covered the life of the child. The combination of these

154
characteristics, together with the failure to document
effects of maternal employment, suggests that more
detailed theoretical specification is required before
further research can be undertaken.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Susan Harvey Hoerbelt received her Bachelor of
Science degree in home economics from Florida State
University in 1968. Following graduation, she taught
science and home economics on the junior and senior high
school levels in Tampa, Florida, for 4 years. During
that time, Ms. Hoerbelt was department chair and served
on numerous educational committees.
In 1980, Ms. Hoerbelt received a Master of Science
degree in sociology from the University of South Florida.
While a student there, she was involved in a number of
university programs, including an alcohol awareness pro¬
gram and several sociological research projects. Ms.
Hoerbelt also worked as a field director for the Human
Resources Institute of the University of South Florida.
Ms. Hoerbelt is currently an adjunct lecturer in the
Department of Sociology at the University of South
Florida. She teaches classes in marriage and the family
and the sociology of the family. Ms. Hoerbelt lives in
Temple Terrace, Florida, with her husband and two sons.
166

I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Alan G. Agresti
Professor, Statistics
I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Constance L.§nehan
Assistant Professor, Sociology
I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of

I certify that I have read this study and that in
my opinion it conforms to acceptable standards of
scholarly presentation and is f ully ¿adequate, in
scope and quality, as a dissertatio/i for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy. //
Hernán Vera
Associate Professor, Sociology
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of the Department of Sociology in the College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences and to the Graduate School and was
accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for
the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
August 1987
Dean, Graduate School

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