“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!
Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland
Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy