Is Nursing A Profession Or An Evolving One?

2915 words - 12 pages

Effects of Low-WageEmployment on FamilyWell-BeingBy Chris PullAbstractAssumptions about the processes that link a mother's employment to the development ofher child must underlie expectations about how children may fare when their mothersmove from welfare dependence into employment. This article explores the idea, men-tioned in the research overview by Zaslow and Emig in this journal issue, that the workingconditions such as wages, work hours, and task complexity that mothers experience on thejob can influence their behavior as parents and shape the home environments they pro-vide for their children. This article discusses the significance of home environments forchildren's intellectual and emotional development and considers how home surroundingschange when mothers begin jobs that are more rewarding or less rewarding. The authorsconclude that, while maternal employment is not necessarily harmful, if welfare recipientsfind only low-wage, stressful jobs, working may prove costly for both family and child well-being. The authors recommend that welfare-to-work programs devote attention to(1) assisting mothers to obtain more complex work at good wages, (2) helping mothersunderstand the role home environments play in shaping children's development, and(3) encouraging parents to make their children's home surroundings as positive as possible.As our society continues to struggle with questions about how to lower wel-fare expenditures and attempts to define the levels of support that areappropriate to families in need, a small number of researchers haveasked how the parental transition from welfare to work might affect children. Toassist in policy formulation, this article discusses ways that specific aspects ofmaternal employment shape children's home environments, which, in turn,influence child outcomes.Maternal employment can affect the family in conflicting ways. Obviously,employment contributes to a family's financial well-being, especially when themother's wages make the difference between dependence on welfare and self-sufficiency. On the other hand, poorly paid, stressful jobs with long hours canjeopardize the quality of parenting by their demands on parents' time, energy,and attention. In many ways, the positive and negative working conditions that116The Future of ChildrenWELFARE TO WORK Vol. 7 * No. 1 - Spring 1997Toby L. Parcel, Ph.D., isa professor of sociologyand Associate Dean ofthe College of Social andBehavioral Sciences atOhio State University.Elizabeth G. Menaghan,Ph.D., is a professor ofsociology and chair of theDepar tment of Soci-ology at Ohio StateUniversity.Preparation of this article wassupported in part by theC o l l e g e o f S o c i a l a n dBehavioral Sciences and theCenter for Human ResourceResearch at Ohio StateUniversity and by theNational Institute of MentalHealth (R01 MH 54371) toElizabeth G. Menaghan andFrank Mott. The authorsthank Mikaela Dufur forresearch assistance.Page 2117Children's HomeEnvironmentsChildren develop...

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