What is the effect of maternal employment on child behaviour? Given increasing maternal labour-market participation in many European countries, there is an ongoing scientific and public debate on the potential consequences for children’s development.
The present study combines statistical techniques that can account for time-varying confounders with cumulative measurement of maternal employment to investigate its link with children’s behavioural problems around age eight. In addition, our study explores whether the effect of maternal employment history differs by mothers’ education.
Using data from the Growing Up in Scotland study, we find that children’s behavioural problems around age eight are the less pronounced the more years their mothers have worked full-time or part-time. However, these associations reduced in size once we adjusted for potential confounders and they do not significantly differ between mothers with and without a tertiary degree. These results suggest that the association between maternal employment history and behavioural problems around age eight is mostly driven by confounding factors such as maternal education, child health and socio-economic status.
This paper was published in the Longitudinal and Life Course Studies on 06 January 2021 and can be read in full online: