Mavis Barkley

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Scriven, Georgia H.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Kindergarten teachers--Psychology; Children of working mothers--Psychology; Child rearing


The purpose of this study was to determine whether children whose mothers were employed while they were of preschool age are rated differently by their teacher on the "Nursery School Behavior Inventory" than those children whose mothers were not employed. The subjects were 39 public school kindergarten children, all of whom were rated by one teacher on a 66-item behavior inventory. The items were summed to provide ten behavior cluster scores for each child: aggressive, hostile; assertive, dominating; energetic, active; curious, creative; cheerful, expressive; social, friendly; cooperative, competent; sensitive, dependent; fearful, anxious; and unstable, emotional. These scores were averaged for each subgroup and standard deviations and t-tests were computed to determine significance of differences between subgroup pairs. The subgroups were formed on the basis of information provided by parents on a home questionnaire concerning maternal employment history. The subgroups were as follows: children whose mothers had been employed during their preschool years, children whose mothers were non-employed during their preschool years; boys whose mothers were employed; boys whose mothers were non-employed; girls whose mothers were employed; girls whose mothers were non-employed; children whose mothers worked full-time; those whose mothers worked part-time; children whose mothers began to to work before the child became three years of age; those whose mothers began to work after they turned three; first-born children whose mothers were employed; later-born children whose mothers were employed; children of employed mothers who were cared for by their fathers; and children of employed mothers who were cared for by babysitters. The null hypothesis that there were no significant differences in behavior characteristics was retained for the subgroups of children whose mothers were employed and non-employed during their preschool years, for the females whose mothers were employed or non-employed, for first-born and later-born children of employed mothers, and for children cared for by father or a babysitter during the mother's working hours. Differences significant at the .10 level were found in some behavior clusters between subgroups of children whose mothers worked full-time and part-time, between male children of employed and non-employed mothers, and between children who were either under or over three years of age at onset of maternal employment. Other factors beside maternal employment may have been relevant in differences between subgroups. Maternal attitudes unrelated to employment, individual differences between children prior to substitute care, or family dynamics may have had an impact on the behaviors of these children.


Bibliography: pages 67-69.


viii, 91 pages




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