Stay-at-Homes Stay Safe

New study shows children with working mothers are more likely to have asthma and suffer injuries

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Asthma, accidents and other health problems are more likely to plague children of working mothers, according to new research from North Carolina State University.

The study followed 20 years worth of data covering approximately 89,000 children from the Center for Disease Control’s National Health Interview Survey, which was collected between 1985 and 2004. Researchers examined the health of school-aged children who have at least one sibling and found a 200 percent increase in overnight hospitalizations, poisonings, injuries and asthma episodes among those children whose mothers worked.

The study contrasts prior studies, which suggested children's health fares better when mothers work because of factors such as health insurance, increased income and better self-esteem among working mothers.

Lead study author Dr. Melinda Morrill, research assistant professor of economics at North Carolina State, said she didn't think anyone should make judgements against working mothers, but that everyone should be aware of the risks and benefits involved should mothers opt to work, even when it means leaving their children unattended and more likely to end up in the hospital.

More than half of all mothers of young children work in the United States today, compared to about one-third in the 1970s, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Review Date: 
February 18, 2011
Last Updated:
February 22, 2011