Working mothers – does the separation have ill effects?

A recent study by Brooks-Gunn et al. (2010) has concluded that the benefits related to going out to work may balance out any harm to children in such situations. The study analysed data from the American NICHD study, calculating the total effect of maternal employment – taking into account all factors related to being a working mother like income, qualities as a parent, and high quality child care. Taking the advantages and disadvantages into account, they found that the net effect is neutral. They looked specifically at maternal employment during a child’s first year and found that the more important factors are those related to the quality of parenting and children’s experiences of child care, rather than the absence or presence of a mother.