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The role of paid maternal employment in childhood on adolescent health in BHPS study -conference paper abstract-


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Background: Maternal employment has been shown to influence various child/adolescent outcomes such as cognitive outcomes, educational achievement, behavioural problems, overweight, selfrated health or child fatalities. There is, however, only limited number of studies using UK longitudinal data, and limited number of data using health measures as study outcomes. The aim of this study is to cover these gaps by looking at influence of maternal employment in three periods of childhood on health outcomes among young people aged 16-21 years in British Household Panel Survey (BHPS).
Methods: BHPS is annual panel survey that has started in 1991 with currently completed 17th wave of data. Response rate to wave 1 was 74%, and response between waves 2 and 17 varied between 84%-89%. There are 3,696 individuals for whom self rated health and/or GHQ-12 at age 16-21 (study outcomes) and maternal employment data prior to age 16 years are available. Other variables, such as gender, maternal age, maternal education and marital status, household income or maternal smoking were used as additional explanatory variables. Regression modeling in STATA 10 was used to estimate the associations between study outcomes and maternal employment.
Results: 19% of young adults aged 16-21 reported poor self-rated health, and mean GHQ-12 was 10.1. Approximately 40% of mothers worked at some point during age 0-4 of their child. This proportion increased to 59% at age 5-11 and 68% at age 12-16. Children of mothers who were not employed reported OR of poor SRH 1.48, 1.11 and 1.28 for 3 periods of exposure, however these effects were mostly explained when adjusted for maternal education and household income. The differences in GHQ-12 by maternal employment were similarly reduced by indicators of social position.
Conclusions: The associations between maternal employment in childhood and young adults’ health exist at least partly because of the generally higher social position and more stable family structure of households with working mothers.

Published in

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine


17 (Suppl. 1): 275-275





Child Development, Labour Market, and Health



ISBM: 11th International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, held August 4-7, 2010, Washington, D.C.; Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*


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