IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 16 (UPI) — Children of mothers who return to work before their child is age 3 are no more likely to have academic or behavioral problems, a U.S. meta-analysis says.
Lead author psychologist Rachel Lucas-Thompson from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and JoAnn Prause and Wendy Goldberg of the University of California, Irvine, reviewed 50 years of research on working mothers and stay-at-home mothers and find for some families, having a mom on the job is better for children, 69 studies conducted from 1960 to 2010 found.
“Overall, I think this shows women who go back to work soon after they have their children should not be too concerned about the effects their employment has on their children’s long-term well-being,” Lucas-Thompson says in a statement.
The meta-analysis included studies in which the mother returned to work, either part-time or full-time, within three years of giving birth.
Further analyses suggest children in middle- and upper-class families with two parents were slightly more likely to see decreases in achievement when older.
“This suggests that families who are not struggling financially may not see as many benefits of maternal employment on very young children,” Lucas-Thompson says. “For these families, it’s possible that alternate care arrangements may not be as emotionally supportive as the child’s mother.”
The findings are published in the Psychological Bulletin.
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