Family Structure Differences in Maternal Time with Children: Disparate Social Structural Locations or Different Propensities towards Mothering

Sarah M. Kendig, University of Maryland

Utilizing the 2003 and 2004 American Time Use Survey (ATUS), this analysis examines the relationship between family structure and maternal time with children. The large sample of 4,309 married mothers and 1,821 single mothers allows for a detail-rich description of single mothers’ time with their children that has not been possible before the ATUS. This study analyzes differences in maternal time with children by marital status, living arrangements, and other characteristics within the single mother population and in comparison to married mothers. Findings indicate that marital status and living arrangement differences in maternal time with children largely disappear or that single mothers engage in more child care than married mothers after controls are introduced. Thus, differences in maternal time with children appear to be mainly attributable to the disadvantaged social structural location of single mothers rather than different proclivities towards mothering between married and single mothers.

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Presented in Poster Session 3