Research Article

Mothers' Transitions from Welfare to Work and the Well-Being of Preschoolers and Adolescents

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Science  07 Mar 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5612, pp. 1548-1552
DOI: 10.1126/science.1076921

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Results from a longitudinal study of 2402 low-income families during the recent unprecedented era of welfare reform suggest that mothers' transitions off welfare and into employment are not associated with negative outcomes for preschoolers (ages 2 to 4 years) or young adolescents (ages 10 to 14 years). Indeed, no significant associations with mothers' welfare and employment transitions were found for preschoolers, and the dominant pattern was also of few statistically significant associations for adolescents. The associations that did occur provided slight evidence that mothers' entry into the labor force was related to improvements in adolescents' mental health, whereas exits from employment were linked with teenagers' increased behavior problems.

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