Maternal Employment and Maternal Well-Being: Is "Welfare-to-Work" Good for Mothers?

Aurea K. Osgood, Winona State University

In 1996 the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was passed, breaking ground for new social policy that promised to significantly change the economic landscape for low-income families. Employment quickly and dramatically increased, especially for low-income parents. These reforms were designed to move low-income parents into employment by mandating work and making work pay. This research uses data from the first two waves of The Three Cities Study to address the question: how does the transition from welfare to work affect maternal well-being? Using a sample of mothers are who were welfare reliant at the first wave and working at the second wave and three measures of well-being (parenting satisfaction, self-esteem, and mental distress), results show that the direct relationship between maternal employment and maternal well-being is only significant when predicting changes in parenting satisfaction. Additionally, this research considers employment characteristics and the effects on maternal well-being.

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Presented in Poster Session 2