• A study of maternal employment and family contexts: Influences on maternal health and mother-infant interaction

      Wendt, Linda Elaine; Parks, Peggy L. (1991)
      The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between selected employment, family, mother and infant characteristics, and mother-infant interaction in a sample of 81 mothers who were employed by three-months postpartum. The goal of the study was to identify family and employment variables that indirectly predicted mother- infant interaction through maternal health. A longitudinal design was used to test the Lerner-Galambos model of maternal employment. Family context variables included family social support, spousal support, and child care arrangements. Employment context variables included reasons for working, employment incongruence, hours worked and employment changes. Maternal health variables included depressive symptomatology, general health status, and number of health conditions. Mother-Infant interaction was measured by the Clark ERA dyad subscales. Variables were measured at three times: in the hospital following birth, at three-months postpartum, and at six-months postpartum. Employment context, family context, and mother and infant health variables were factor analyzed for purposes of data reduction. The factor scores were entered into hierarchical regressions. Neither employment context, nor family context, nor a combination of employment context and family context variables predicted mother-infant interaction through maternal health at six months. Maternal and infant health did not predict mother-infant interaction at six months. Family context at three months and at six months predicted maternal employment at three and six months. Exploratory analyses indicated that family context factors at three months predicted maternal health at six months. Employment context at three months predicted maternal health at six months. These findings are important for nurses who work with employed mothers during the perinatal period.