Methods: This study used data from the sixth wave of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study dataset, a longitudinal cohort study of mostly low-income mothers in 20 large U.S. cities. Analyzing a sample of 1,234 adolescents who are 15 years old and their single mothers, this study examined the link between adolescent risky behaviors (smoking and drinking) and maternal multiple job holding through descriptive statistics and logistic regression. Two logistic regression models each were conducted for smoking and drinking (four in total): one using the adolescents’ own self-reported behavior, and one using their report of their friends’ behavior as a proxy for risky behaviors.
Results: The findings suggest that there is an association between adolescents who smoked tobacco (self-report and by-proxy report) and mothers who worked multiple jobs at the bi-variate level. In the multivariate regressions, this association was not significant below .05 level, but was significant at .06 probability level. Adolescent alcohol consumption was not linked to maternal multiple job holding at the bivariate or multivariate level in either model. Additional results indicated the relationships between adolescent smoking and race, ADHD diagnosis and, maternal smoking.
Conclusions and Implications: Given the relationship between maternal multiple job holding and adolescent smoking, further examination of social policies that influence maternal employment should be investigated to address their effect on adolescent risky behavior. Furthermore, services to promote maternal mental health and better communication between mothers and adolescents should be promoted.