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30-06-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2018

Maternal Employment and Family Socioeconomic Status: Unique Relations to Maternal Stress, Parenting Beliefs, and Preschoolers’ Adjustment in Taiwanese Families

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2018
Auteurs:
Yin-Ping Teresa Teng, Li Tsung-Wen Kuo, Qing Zhou

Abstract

With the rapid increase in women’s labor force participation in Asia, a greater understanding of the impact of maternal employment on parenting and child development in Asia is much needed. The present study examined the concurrent relations between maternal employment status and family characteristics (e.g., socioeconomic status/SES, family structure) in Taiwanese families, and the unique relations of maternal employment and family SES to maternal stress, parenting beliefs, and preschoolers’ socioemotional adjustment. In a school-based sample of 511 preschoolers (age range = 4–6 years, 52.9% girls), their mothers, and teachers in Taipei and Taitung, mothers reported their employment status, family characteristics, perceived stress and parenting beliefs. Mothers and teachers rated preschoolers’ adjustment. Results showed that compared to unemployed mothers in Taiwan, employed mothers were more likely to come from families with higher SES and fewer children, and nuclear (vs. extended) families. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesized model. Mothers from lower-SES families reported higher stress and higher endorsement of coercive parenting, and lower endorsement of authoritative parenting than mothers from higher-SES families. Controlling for SES, employed mothers endorsed higher coercive parenting than unemployed mothers. Mothers’ endorsement of authoritative parenting was associated with better child adjustment by mothers’ (but not teachers’) reports, whereas maternal stress and coercive parenting were associated with poorer child adjustment (by mothers’ reports only). In sum, maternal employment was intricately associated with family SES in Taiwanese families, and the two contextual factors shape parenting and child adjustment in different processes.

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