We assess the impact of maternal sense of mastery and maternal working conditions on maternal perceptions of children's behavior problems as a means to study the transmission of social control across generations. We use a sample of 521 employed mothers and their four-to six-year-old children from the National Longitudinal Survey's Youth Cohort in 1986. Regarding working conditions, we consider mother's hourly wage, work hours, and job content including involvement with things (vs. people), the requisite level of physical activity, and occupational complexity. We also consider maternal and child background and current family characteristics, including marital status, family size, and home environment. Maternal mastery was related to fewer reported behavior problems among children. Lower involvement with people and higher involvement with things, as well as low physical activity, were related significantly to higher levels of perceived problems. In addition, recent changes in maternal marital status, including maternal marriage or remarriage, increased reports of problems; stronger home environments had the opposite effect. We interpret these findings as suggesting how maternal experiences of control in the workplace and personal resources of control can influence the internalization of control in children.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health