Maternal Employment, Social Capital, and Self-Care in Low-Income Families Michelle K. Blocklin Kaylin M. Greene Kathryn Hynes Department of Human Development & Family Studies The Pennsylvania State University 2010 NCFR Annual Meeting Minneapolis, MN
Background • Increases in maternal labor force participation(Raley, Mattingly, & Bianchi, 2006) • Work requirements and time limits of 1996 Welfare Reforms • Negative impacts of welfare reforms on adolescents (e.g., Brooks et al., 2001) • Links between maternal employment and self-care (e.g., Casper & Smith, 2004; Lopoo, 2005) • Problematic associations with youth self-care (Aizer, 2004; Mott, Crowe, Richardson, & Flay, 1999; Shumow, Smith, & Smith, 2009)
What’s missing? • Work-family research on low-income families • Protective factors for self-care
The Role of Social Capital • Coleman (1988): “a variety of different entities having two characteristics in common: They all consist of some aspect of social structures, and they facilitate certain actions of individuals who are within the structure” (p. S98) • Impact of maternal employment on social capital • Social capital and self-care
Study Aims • Examine the link between maternal employment and self-care in low-income families. • Examine the association between maternal employment and social capital. • Explore links between social capital and self-care.
Data - Welfare, Children, & Families: A Three-City Study • Longitudinal study of well-being of low-income families and communities post-welfare reform in Boston, Chicago, and San Antonio • Data collection included child cognitive assessments, 30-min adolescent interviews, 2-hr caregiver interviews • Our study uses a subsample from Wave 1 (N = 1,037) and Wave 2 (N = 932), which includes adolescents and their biological mothers
Analytic Strategy • Logistic regression for dichotomous outcome (self-care) • OLS regression for continuous outcomes (social capital variables) • Analyses tested first with wave 1 data and replicated with wave 2 data
Results Aim 2: Maternal Work Hours and Social Capital • Maternal work hours not linked to father involvement • Maternal work hours not linked to neighborhood quality • Maternal work hours not linked to social networks at wave 1 • At wave 2, longer work hours associated with stronger social networks
Results Aim 3: Direct Effects of Social Capital • The more involved fathers were, the less likely youth were to be in self-care • No direct association between social networks or neighborhood quality and self-care
Results Aim 3: Interactive Effects of Social Capital • No significant interaction between maternal employment and father involvement • Stronger social networks and higher neighborhood quality served as protective factors • Interactions significant at wave 1 only
Specification Tests • Interaction findings not spurious due to small cell sizes • Discrepancies not due to attrition • Age restriction
Summary • Longer maternal work hours were associated with a higher likelihood of adolescent self-care in low-income families • Maternal employment was not linked to less social capital • Father involvement was directly linked to lower likelihood of youth self-care • Social networks and neighborhood quality may serve as a protective factor for self-care for working mothers
Implications • Better support and structure for out-of-school time of older youth with low-income working mothers • Encourage father involvement • Target youth with uninvolved fathers with programs and policies • More research on networks and neighborhood quality
Acknowledgements This research is based on data from the Three-City Study, supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, Social Security Administrations, National Institute of Mental Health, The Boston foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Woods Fund of Chicago.