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maternal-child, low-birth-weight infants, single-parent families, maternal employment



  1. Youngblut, JoAnne M.
  2. Singer, Lynn T.
  3. Madigan, Elizabeth A.
  4. Swegart, Leslie A.
  5. Rodgers, Willard L.


Background: The influence of premature birth of an infant in female-headed, single-parent families together or in conjunction with family environment factors, such as employment of the mother, on the mother-premature child relationship has not been considered in past studies.


Objectives: To explore differences in parent-child and family relationships for employed and nonemployed single mothers of low-birth-weight (LBW) and full-term preschool children and to describe the relationships of the mother's employment status, employment history, and employment attitude-behavior consistency to parent-child and family relationships.


Methods: Single mothers with LBW (n = 60) and full-term (n = 61) preschool children provided data on their employment situation, the Parenting Stress Index, the Feetham Family Functioning Survey, and the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment.


Results: Employed mothers had more positive perceptions and provided more enriching home environments for their children. Greater attitude-behavior consistency was associated with more positive perceptions of the parental role.


Conclusion: Thus, in single-parent families, employment and consistency are positive influences on the mother-child relationship.