Early maternal employment in context : the role of maternity leave for mother's return to employment, later psychological well-being, and mother-infant interaction

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Title: Early maternal employment in context : the role of maternity leave for mother's return to employment, later psychological well-being, and mother-infant interaction
Author: Bobbitt, Kaeley Celeste
Abstract: With more than 50 percent of mothers in the workforce by their child’s first birthday , maternity leave’s influence on mothers’ well -being and the mother -infant interaction has implications for millions of employed mothers and their children . In this study , I used data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care to examine the relations between variation in maternity leave benefit , length of leave , maternal well -being and mother -infant interaction within the context in which mothers make decisions to return to employment after childbirth . These associations depend on a number of important contextual factors including mothers’ subjective beliefs about the costs of employment , family structure and financial situation , mothers’ separation anxiety , and their commitment to work , all of which have important implications for both family and policy . The financial benefit that mothers use during leave varied positively with their socio -demographic characteristics . Paid leaves were related to shorter leaves and to fewer depressive symptoms , but had no direct relation with parenting stress or sensitivity . Mothers’ beliefs about the costs of employment , family structure and finances moderated the effects of paid leave . No direct association emerged between leave length and either maternal well -being or sensitivity , but interactions between leave length and both separation anxiety and work commitment indicated that long leaves are beneficial for only a sub -group of mothers . Results from this study indicate that individual differences are important in understanding the relations among leave type , leave length , maternal well -being and sensitivity . Consequently , effective maternity leave policy should be flexible to accommodate the varying needs of new mothers .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1615
Date: 2010-12-22

Citation

Early maternal employment in context : the role of maternity leave for mother's return to employment, later psychological well-being, and mother-infant interaction. Master's thesis, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -08 -1615 .

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