Maternal Employment Patterns and the Risk for Child Maltreatment

William Schneider, Megan Feely, Jeehae Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the complex, nonlinear, and understudied relationship between maternal employment, employment patterns, and four types of child maltreatment; describes the employment status and often nonstandard employment patterns of high-risk mothers at three child developmental ages; and applies the results in the context of three theories used in extant research to understand the relationship between economic hardship and child maltreatment. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, we find that both too much and not enough paid employment are associated with increased risk for child maltreatment, neglect in particular. Our findings indicate that income-support programs tied to employment may be ineffective mechanisms for many families to balance time and money, key factors in the prevention of child maltreatment. As policy makers seek new approaches to prevent child maltreatment, scholars must understand and consider the employment patterns of at-risk mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-92
Number of pages59
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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