“I don’t think anyone should make sweeping value judgments based on a mother’s decision to work or not work,” says Dr. Melinda Morrill, research assistant professor of economics at NC State and author of the study. “But, it is important that we are aware of the costs and benefits associated with a mother’s decision to work.”
The study looked at the health of school-age children who have at least one younger sibling. When a mother works, the study found, it leads to a 200 percent increase in the child’s risk of having each of three different adverse health events: overnight hospitalizations, asthma episodes, and injuries or poisonings.
Previous studies have shown that, on average, children have better health outcomes when the mother works. Those findings have been attributed to factors such as increased income, availability of health insurance and an increase in the mother’s self-esteem.
However, Morrill found that was not the case. Morrill used advanced statistical techniques to focus specifically on the causal relationship between mothers working and children’s health. Morrill’s approach accounts for a number of confounding factors, such as how a child’s health affects the mother’s ability to work. For example, if a child is very sick, the mother may be more likely to stay at home.
“I wanted to look at mothers whose decision to work was not based on their children’s health,” Morrill says, explaining that a woman’s youngest child’s eligibility for kindergarten can influence her ability to return to the workforce. In assessing health outcomes, Morrill looked solely at older children already enrolled in school, between the ages of 7 and 17, whose youngest sibling was around kindergarten age.
The study examined 20 years worth of data covering approximately 89,000 children from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey. The data were collected between 1985 and 2004.
The paper, “The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children,” is forthcoming from the Journal of Health Economics. The research was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which is within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
NC State’s Department of Economics is part of the university’s Poole College of Management.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“The effects of maternal employment on the health of school-age children”
Authors: Melinda Sandler Morrill, North Carolina State University
Published: forthcoming, Journal of Health Economics
Abstract: The effects of maternal employment on children’s health are theoretically ambiguous and challenging to identify. There are trade-offs between income and time, and a mother’s decision to work reflects, in part, her children’s health and her underlying preferences. I utilize exogenous variation in each child’s youngest sibling’s eligibility for kindergarten as an instrument. Using the restricted-access National Health Interview Survey (1985–2004), I identify the effects on overnight hospitalizations, asthma episodes, and injuries/poisonings for children ages 7–17. Maternal employment increases the probability of each adverse health event by nearly 200 percent. These effects are robust and do not reflect a non- representative local effect.
Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy