What Women Want: Employment Preference and Adjustment Among Mothers

Lucia Ciciolla, Alexandra S. Curlee, Suniya Luthar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this study of over 2000 mothers, we considered the alignment between employment preference and status, examining the well-being of mothers who were employed and wanting to work; employed because they need the money; not employed and not wanting work; and not employed but wanting to work. Alignment between employment preference and employment status was significantly associated with well-being, and mothers who stayed at home but wanted work had the most difficulties. Strong associations across multiple outcomes were found for emotional support variables, and costs of childcare was the most common reason for staying home even if employment was desired. Results suggest the importance of women’s self-agency in employment decisions, access to child-care, and emotional support in mothers’ lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-513
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Family and Economic Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Emotional support
  • Employment
  • Mothers
  • Psychological adjustment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


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