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Determining Children's Home Environments: The Impact of Maternal Characteristics and Current Occupational and Family Conditions

Elizabeth G. Menaghan and Toby L. Parcel
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 53, No. 2 (May, 1991), pp. 417-431
DOI: 10.2307/352909
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352909
Page Count: 15
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Determining Children's Home Environments: The Impact of Maternal Characteristics and Current Occupational and Family Conditions
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Abstract

This study examines determinants of the home environments employed mothers provide for their young children, and investigates the impact of current employment experiences, current family conditions, and maternal and child characteristics in shaping children's home environments. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth's 1986 Mother-Child Supplement, the study focuses on 795 employed mothers with a child aged three through six years old. As work socialization theories suggest, the occupational complexity of mother's work positively affects the home environments mothers provide for their children. In addition, larger family size produces less optimal child environments. The personal resources that mothers bring to their childrearing—self-esteem, locus of control, educational attainment, and age—also have significant effects on children's home environments. Given the importance of home environment for children's cognitive and socioemotional development, these findings suggest pathways by which maternal resources and current occupational and family environments have intergenerational repercussions.

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