Short-term and long-term effects of early parental employment on children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Dev Psychol. 1999 Mar;35(2):445-59. doi: 10.1037//0012-1649.35.2.445.


This study examined the effects of early parental employment on children in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Minimal effects on children's later functioning were found. Early maternal employment status and the timing and continuity of early maternal employment were not consistently related to children's development. Working more hours was associated with slightly lower cognitive development through age 9 and slightly lower academic achievement scores before age 7 but had no significant relation to children's behavior problems, compliance, or self-esteem. Early parental employment appeared to be somewhat more beneficial for single mothers and lower income families. There was some support for the hypothesis that early parental employment positively affects children's development by increasing family income.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Time Factors