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Children of Working Mothers Cited as Higher Achievers

August 26, 1986|ELIZABETH MEHREN | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Shattering the notion that a mother's employment may somehow be bad for her children, a new nationwide study bas shown that school-aged children of working mothers outscore the children of non-working mothers in math and reading, have a lower absentee rate from school and demonstrate "significantly higher" IQ scores.

The five-year study of 573 first-, third- and fifth-graders in 38 states was released over the weekend by its co-author, Kent State University psychologist John Guidubaldi. Presenting his findings to a symposium at the 94th annual conference of the American Psychological Assn., Guidubaldi stressed the "positive outcomes both socially and academically for children of employed mothers."

Guidubaldi added that this latest research also supported earlier studies undertaken by other social scientists that showed a higher sense of self-esteem and skill at family relations among the children of working mothers. In this newest study, Guidubaldi and his co-researchers also found the children of employed mothers to be more self-reliant than the children of non-working mothers.

Employed mothers, Guidubaldi also determined, participate in "significantly more recreational activities" with their children than do their non-working counterparts.

Said Guidubaldi: "All significant differences in social and academic criteria favored children of employed mothers."

Working mothers were shown, however, to rely more heavily on baby sitters and relatives for evening child care than do mothers who aren't employed. Though no implication was drawn from this finding, Guidubaldi said also that "children of non-working mothers were also likely to have more family members present at the evening meal." Non-working mothers, he said, "expressed higher levels of satisfaction with their own parenting performance . . . and their children also reported better mother-child relations."

In a separate part of their study, Guidubaldi and his colleagues also examined the impact of maternal employment on child adjustment in divorced-family homes. Again, Guidubaldi and his team reported, "divorced-family children whose mothers were employed outperformed divorced-family children whose mothers were unemployed."

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