Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries (January 11 - 14, 2007)
Findings indicated that participation in employment predicted fewer depressive symptoms and less negative parenting style over time. Employment at Time 1 was associated with a reduced likelihood of receiving welfare in the interim between Time 1 and Time 2, less financial strain at Time 2, and (through these) a decrease in mothers' depressive symptoms at Time 2. Fewer depressive symptoms at Time 2, in turn, predicted less negative parenting style at Time 2. Mothers with higher educational attainment were more likely to be employed (and to earn more) at both time points. Although mothers earned substantially more at Time 2, being employed at Time 1 (before welfare reform) was more important vis-a-vis the psychological and parenting outcomes in this study than was becoming employed by Time 2 (after welfare reform).
Implications of these findings for welfare policies will be addressed. There are few (if any other) longitudinal data on single mothers with young children who were current and former welfare recipients both before and after the 1996 welfare act.