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Determinants of Child Care Ideals among Mothers of Preschool Aged Children

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Mason, Karen Oppenheim. "Determinants of Child Care Ideals among Mothers of Preschool Aged Children." Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, no.3 (August 1989): 593-603.

The extent to which care by a child's parents is considered ideal at different preschool ages is explored with data collected in 1986 for a probability sample of 1,302 mothers of preschool-aged children living in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. Women's current use of child care, marital and employment status, income, youngest child's age, gender role ideology, religion, religiosity, education, race, proximity to relatives, and place of residence are all hypothesized to affect child care ideals. The data show that a majority view parental care as ideal at all preschool ages, with almost one-third of the women taking this stance even when they are constrained from naming the child's mother as the caregiver. The strongest correlates of preferring parental care are living with a husband or male partner, being out of the labor force, espousing a traditional gender role ideology, and attending religious services frequently. Income, religion, education, and proximity to relatives are unrelated to child care ideals. The results are interpreted to indicate that child care ideals are part of a broader ideology of family and gender that reflects women's adult experiences.

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