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Mum works - so what?! Mother's occupation has no effect on the child's social behaviour

A new research article by WiSo-Professor Dr. Marita Jacob and Dr. Michael Kühhirt takes up a much discussed topic.

The increasing labour force participation of mothers in many European countries is accompanied by an ongoing scientific and public debate about the possible consequences for the development of children. Among other things, it is argued that working mothers have less time for their children or are unable to do justice to both, due to the stress of work and family.

However, the study by Prof. Dr. Jacob (ISS) and Dr. Kühhirt (ISS) shows no evidence for such a negative effect of maternal employment on the behaviour of children at the age of eight. In their research article, the entire employment history from birth to the child's age of six is recorded. Another exciting aspect of the study is whether the effect of maternal employment differs by the mother's level of education.

The study draws on data from almost 2000 children and their families in Scotland. The statistical techniques used can take into account interactions with other family characteristics, such as economic resources, maternal health and family structure, and thus allow the actual impact of maternal employment to be better isolated.