Yetis-Bayraktar, A., Budig, M., & Tomaskovic-Devey, D. (2013). From the shop floor to the kitchen floor: Maternal occupational complexity and children’s reading and math skills. Work and Occupations, 40(1), 37-64.
- The authors sought to determine whether the complexity of a mother’s occupation (or the quality of employment as defined by its task complexity, autonomy, and authority) affected her 6- to 13-year-old children’s math and reading test scores. The study considered both the complexity of the mother’s occupation when her children were ages 6 to 13 as well as the complexity of her occupation in her children’s earliest years (birth to age 3).
- The authors analyzed data from the 1984–1996 Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its 1997 Child Development Supplement to determine the relationship between maternal occupational complexity and children’s scores on the Revised Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement. The analysis first accounted for traits associated with mothers’ employment status, that is, whether the mother was employed. Assuming the mother was employed, the authors then assessed the association between the complexity of the mother’s occupation and her children’s performance on the reading and math sections of the test.
- The study found that a one-point increase on the maternal white collar occupational complexity scale was associated with a 2.49-point increase in children’s test scores, whereas a one-point increase on the blue collar occupational complexity scale corresponded to a 1.01-point gain in test scores.
- Maternal occupational complexity during the child’s first three years also was associated with increased test scores later in life; a one-point gain in white collar occupational complexity in the first three years of the child’s life was associated with a 3.7-point increase in test scores when the child was ages 6 to 13.
Reviewed by CLEAR