Behavioral Science

The article “Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Early Parental Employment on Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth”, Elizabeth Harvey continues the exploration of an enduringly contentious subject. She walks us through findings reported by six different studies. The researchers performing those studies based their findings on the same data set taken from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY).

Elizabeth made reference throughout the article of the widely differing results these six studies presented. No one study agreed in whole with any of the others. Elizabeth attributed this to the fact that the data taken was widely varied and the approaches were also diverse. She took these studies into account and proceeded to perform her own investigation. In her analysis, Elizabeth was able to incorporate inconsistencies found in previous studies and was also able to use more recent data to validate or void these results.

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Using factors such as income, age, IQ and hours worked in a day brought no conclusive figures. Elizabeth was only able to come up with slight variations and consistencies. Two of the more prominent results were: 1) “Early parental employment appeared to be somewhat more beneficial for single mothers and lower income families. ” And 2) “There was some support for the hypothesis that early parental employment positively affects children’s development by increasing family income.
” If a broad view is taken of these studies, children are not any more or less likely to develop negative or positive traits based on whether their parents employment status. Children have rarely been well defined by statistics. While this study certainly has its merits, specific details not included would make it difficult to attach mental and cognitive development to parental use of day care. One such detail was suggested in the article.
The quality of care provided would most certainly have an impact on any child’s development. A nurturing environment would allow a child to flourish and be successful while a hostile atmosphere would produce opposite results. Another factor would be the involvement of the parents in the child’s development. If a child is in attendance at day care all day and comes home to a parent who is attentive and interactive in a positive way, there is a better chance that child will know mental and cognitive advancement.
A third factor addressed generally in the article deals with the age of the child when they enter into a day care situation. It is widely known infants go through an attachment phase through their first year of life. After the successful completion of this phase, infants are more prepared to enter into social settings when they are older. On the same note, children who are enrolled after their second or third year are better equipped to handle adjusting to time away from their parents as well as interacting with other children their same age.
Discoveries made through this existing data offer insight to parents and care givers alike. Making information like this available permits them to make the best decision possible for their families, loved ones and for themselves. While many of the facts are still imprecise, further research will produce additional insights. Works Cited Harvey, Elizabeth. “Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Early Parental Employment on Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. ” Developmental Psychology 35. 2 (1999): 445-459.

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