Employment decisions of professional women with young children
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This study explored the employment decisions of professional women with young children. Major variables from several lines of research conducted over the past two decades were investigated to determine their ability to predict the number of hours a professional woman will work after she becomes a parent. The study considered economic variables (e.g., income contribution); personality variables (e.g., "masculine/feminine" orientation of woman and spouse); attitudinal variables (e.g., attitude toward non-maternal care); and aspects of family of origin and current family (e.g., mother's work status; spouse's participation in household and childcare tasks). Multiple regression analyses were used to determine which variables were significant predictors of hours worked.;Subjects were 40 primaparous women who were either currently working in a professional capacity or had done so before their child's birth. A structured personal interview was conducted with each subject; in addition each subject completed several self-administered written measures. A strong finding emerged with respect to attitude toward (non)maternal care. Women who expressed a stronger belief in the importance to a child of having a mother at home were likely to work fewer hours. This variable consistently emerged as a significant predictor of hours worked. Likewise, a stronger belief in the importance of a mother working was associated with a higher number of hours worked. Spouse's satisfaction with the childcare decision and spouse's career involvement decreased as the woman worked more hours. These two variables were also significant predictors of hours worked. However, spouse's satisfaction and spouse's career involvement both were reported to be at high levels regardless of the woman's employment status.;Subjects' satisfaction level was also explored. Hours worked did not correlate significantly with satisfaction; moreover, satisfaction levels were generally high. The subject's mother's approval was found to correlate significantly in a positive direction with and to be a significant predictor of satisfaction. The influence of economic factors on the decision, which was also a significant predictor of satisfaction, correlated in a negative direction. This has implications for women who would prefer to be at home, but are working because of economic necessity. Clinicians should be aware of the lower satisfaction levels that may exist when preference and status diverge.