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The effect of maternal employment on adolescents’ transition to young adulthood

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Title: The effect of maternal employment on adolescents’ transition to young adulthood
Author(s): Kim, Heuijin
Director of Research: Eamon, Mary K.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Eamon, Mary K.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Anderson, Steven G.; Larson, Reed W.; Zhan, Min
Department / Program: School of Social Work
Discipline: Social Work
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): maternal employment mothers' work characteristics parental involvement adolescents' transition to adulthood youth's transition to adulthood adolescents' post-secondary education
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between multiple characteristics of maternal employment, parenting practices, and adolescents’ transition outcomes to young adulthood. The research addressed four main research questions. First, are the characteristics of maternal work (i.e., hours worked, multiple jobs held, work schedules, earnings, and occupation) related to adolescents’ enrollment in post-secondary education, employment, or involvement in neither of these types of activities as young adults? Second, are the work characteristics related to parental involvement and monitoring, and are the parenting practices related to adolescents’ transition outcomes? Third, do parental involvement and monitoring mediate any relationships between the characteristics of maternal employment and adolescents’ transition outcomes? Finally, do any associations between characteristics of maternal employment and parenting practices and adolescents’ transition outcomes vary by poverty status, race/ethnicity, or gender? To address these research questions, secondary data analysis was conducted, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) from 1998 through 2004. The study sample consisted of 849 youths who were 15 through 17 years of age in either 1998 or 2000, and were 19 through 21 years of age when their transition outcomes in young adulthood were measured four years later. Multinomial logistic and ordinary least squares regression models were estimated to answer the research questions. Study findings indicated that of the maternal work characteristics, mothers’ multiple jobs held, occupation, and work schedule were significantly related to the youths’ transition outcomes. When mothers held multiple jobs for 1 to 25 weeks per year, and when mothers held jobs involving lower levels of occupational complexity, their youths were more likely to experience employment rather than post-secondary education. Adolescents whose mothers worked a standard work schedule were less likely to experience other types of transitions than post-secondary education. With regard to the effects of maternal employment on parenting practices, none of the maternal work variables were related to parental involvement, and only one variable, mothers working less than 40 hours per week, was negatively related to parental monitoring. In addition, when parents were more involved with their youths’ education, the youths were less likely to transition into employment and other types of transitions rather than post-secondary education. The parenting practices did not mediate the relation between the significant work variables (holding multiple jobs, work schedule, and occupation) and youths’ transition outcomes. Finally, none of the interactions between maternal work characteristics and poverty status, race/ethnicity, and gender met the criteria for determining significance; but in a series of sub-group analyses, some differences according to poverty status and gender were found. Despite the lack of mediation and moderation, the findings of this study have important implications for social policy and social work intervention. Based on the findings, suggestions are made in these areas to improve working mothers’ lives and their adolescents’ development and successful transition to adulthood. Finally, directions for future research are discussed.
Issue Date: 2010-05-14
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/15552
Rights Information: Copyright 2010 Heuijin Kim
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-05-15
Date Deposited: May 2010
 

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