Volume 43 - Article 57 | Pages 1685–1738

Maternal employment and the well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland

By Francesca Fiori

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:28 Jan 2020
Date published:18 Dec 2020
Word count:5767
Keywords:child well-being, lone mothers, maternal employment, Scotland


Background: Previous research has shown that children who do not live with both of their parents fare worse on a variety of outcomes. However, less is known about the heterogeneity of children’s socioeconomic context and the factors that contribute to the negative effect of family structure.

Objective: This study examines whether, under which circumstances, and through which mechanisms maternal employment influences the socioemotional well-being of children living with a lone mother in Scotland.

Methods: The study uses longitudinal data from Growing Up in Scotland to follow a sub-sample of children living with lone mothers (N = 918). It applies Inverse Probability Weighting to estimate the effect of maternal employment when the child is aged 3 on children’s socioemotional well-being at age 5, net of selection effects; and the KHB decomposition method to assess the mediating role of household income and maternal well-being.

Results: Children of working lone mothers are less at risk of having severe socioemotional problems, particularly if their mothers work in medium–high occupational positions. Higher levels of household income and the greater psychological well-being of working mothers partly explain the positive effect of maternal employment.

Contribution: This study enhances understanding of the factors associated with the socioemotional well-being of children living with a lone mother by providing a detailed analysis of the role of maternal employment.

Author's Affiliation

Francesca Fiori - University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Who leaves, who stays? Gendered routes out of the family home following union dissolution in Italy
Volume 40 - Article 20

» Economic reasons for not wanting a second child: Changes before and after the onset of the economic recession in Italy
Volume 38 - Article 30

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Educational gradients in nonstandard work schedules among mothers and fathers in the United Kingdom
Volume 44 - Article 26    | Keywords: maternal employment

» Not a zero-sum game: Migration and child well-being in contemporary China
Volume 38 - Article 26    | Keywords: child well-being

» Trends in the completeness of birth registration in Nigeria: 2002-2010
Volume 35 - Article 12    | Keywords: child well-being

» Maternal labor force participation and differences by education in an urban birth cohort study - 1998-2010
Volume 34 - Article 14    | Keywords: maternal employment

» Sibship size and status attainment across contexts: Evidence from the Netherlands, 1840-1925
Volume 23 - Article 4    | Keywords: child well-being


»Volume 43





Similar Articles



Jump to Article

Volume Page
Volume Article ID