Posts Tagged ‘ research ’

Daughters of Domestic Dads Have Higher Aspirations, Study Finds

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Father Dad Daughter ChoresDaughters who see their dads do household chores are more likely to dream of less traditional, higher paying careers, according to the Association for Psychological Science. The study found a strong connection between the way daughters view gender roles and their fathers’ attitude (and action) toward housework. More from PsychologicalScience.org:

Fathers who help with household chores are more likely to raise daughters who aspire to less traditional, and potentially higher paying, careers, according to research forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The study findings indicate that how parents share dishes, laundry and other domestic duties plays a key role in shaping the gender attitudes and aspirations of their children, especially daughters.

This is a photo of a father and daughter doing laundry. While mothers’ gender and work equality beliefs were key factors in predicting kids’ attitudes toward gender, the strongest predictor of daughters’ own professional ambitions was their fathers’ approach to household chores.

“This suggests girls grow up with broader career goals in households where domestic duties are shared more equitably by parents,” says psychology researcher and study author Alyssa Croft, a PhD Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology. “How fathers treat their domestic duties appears to play a unique gatekeeper role.”

The study results suggest that parents’ domestic actions may speak louder than words. Even when fathers publicly endorsed gender equality, if they retained a traditional division of labor at home, their daughters were more likely to envision themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs, such as nurse, teacher, librarian or stay-at-home-mom.

“Despite our best efforts to create workplace equality, women remain severely under-represented in leadership and management positions,” says Croft. “This study is important because it suggests that achieving gender equality at home may be one way to inspire young women to set their sights on careers from which they have traditionally been excluded.”

The study involved 326 children aged 7-13 and at least one of their parents. For each household, researchers calculated the division of chores and paid labor. They also determined the career stereotypes that participants identified with, their gender and work attitudes and children’s career aspirations.

The study found mothers shouldered more of the burden of housework than men, which echoes previous findings. Parents and kids associated women more than men with childcare and domestic work, and girls were significantly more likely than boys to say they want be like adults who take care of kids rather than someone who has a career.

“‘Talking the talk’ about equality is important, but our findings suggest that it is crucial that dads ‘walk the walk’ as well — because their daughters clearly are watching,” says Croft, noting that girls might be learning from an early age to take on additional roles, rather than different roles, compared to boys.

What career will your child have when she grows up? Take our quiz to find out!

Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do
Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do
Manners & Responsibility: Chores Kids Can (and Should) Do

Image: Father and daughter cleaning in the kitchen, sweep floor at home via Shutterstock

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Work-Life Balance Even Affects Those without Kids, Study Finds

Monday, March 31st, 2014

Work-Life BalanceEmployers who refuse flexible scheduling for employees with kids also lose popularity with childless workers. According to a new study from Rice University and University of California, San Diego, scientists and engineers without kids have still felt the stigma associated with “flexible” schedules within their work culture. The study found workers can have a negative attitude towards their place of employment and were less interested in staying at their jobs when they felt their employers looked down on individuals that needed a more flexible schedule. More from Rice University:

Parents have reported before that trying to balance work and family obligations comes with career costs. But a new study from Rice University and the University of California, San Diego, shows that university workplace bias against scientists and engineers who use flexible work arrangements may increase employee dissatisfaction and turnover even for people who don’t have children.

“As researchers, we’re interested in understanding the gap between the traditional 9-to-5 work setting and what workers actually need,” said Erin Cech, an assistant professor of sociology at Rice and the study’s lead author. “The majority of parents are in the workforce today, yet the expectations and arrangements of work have stayed more or less the same as they were post-World War II. We’re trying to understand this mismatch and its consequences.”

The study, “Consequences of Flexibility Stigma Among Academic Scientists and Engineers,” examined “flexibility stigma” — employers’ and co-workers’ negative attitudes toward employees who seek or are presumed to need flexible work arrangements to deal with child care responsibilities — at one university. The study found that people who reported an awareness of the flexibility stigma in their departments — regardless of whether they are parents themselves — were less interested in staying at their jobs, more likely to want to leave academia for industry and less satisfied with their jobs than those who did not report a flexibility stigma in their department. They also felt as though they had worse work-life balance.

“Flexibility stigma is not just a workers’ problem,” said study co-author Mary Blair-Loy, an associate professor of sociology at UC San Diego and founding director of the Center for Research on Gender in the Professions. “Workplaces where this bias exists are more likely to have a toxic culture that hurts the entire department, not only in terms of work-life balance but also retention and job satisfaction, which may affect department productivity.”…

Thinking of quitting your job? Use our worksheet to see if you can make it on one income.


Balancing Work & Breastfeeding
Balancing Work & Breastfeeding
Balancing Work & Breastfeeding

Image: Adult business woman wearing a costume and supplied her newborn daughter in the office workplace via Shutterstock.

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Birth Defects in Washington State Mystify Doctors

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Doctors and public health officials are puzzled by why a cluster of diagnoses of anencephaly, a fatal birth defect in which infants are born missing parts of their brain and skull, has emerged in Washington state. The spate of diagnoses is leading parents and doctors to question how rigorous epidemiologists are being in determining the causes of the defect.  CNN has more:

For months, Andrea Jackman has been expecting a call from the Department of Health.

While pregnant, Jackman lived in the Yakima Valley, an agricultural area in south-central Washington. Her daughter, Olivia, was born in September with spina bifida, which, like anencephaly, is a neural tube defect the state is also tracking. Unlike anencephaly, however, spina bifida is usually not fatal.

She says she’s incredulous and outraged that state researchers haven’t called to ask questions: What did she eat while she was pregnant? Did she spend time near farms that sprayed pesticides? Did she take any herbs or supplements? How about Olivia’s father? Was he exposed to any toxic chemicals?

But no one has called.

Mandy Stahre, the state epidemiologist who’s investigating the cluster of birth defects, says it might be upsetting for mothers to get a call with such questions. Most of the women were pregnant with babies who had anencephaly, and the outcome is always horrible. If a woman didn’t miscarry, she had to make a decision whether to terminate her pregnancy or go ahead and have a baby sure to die soon after birth.

Stahre and her colleagues asked themselves: Would a phone call traumatize these women?

“We have to weigh that heavily. This is a devastating diagnosis, and we know that for a lot of these women they had to make some hard choices,” Stahre says. “We have to weigh how invasive we want to be with these types of interviews.”

Jackman says that attitude is paternalistic and condescending. She says she would do anything to help prevent another family from having a baby with a severe birth defect. State epidemiologists should have made those phone calls a long time ago, she says, since every day that passes, her memory, and those of other mothers, start to fade about what their habits were during pregnancy.

“What are you researching if you haven’t physically called the families to find out?” she asks.

‘Very bad research

Stahre has an answer to Jackman’s question: The state examined the mothers’ medical records, which revealed, among other things, the women’s home addresses.

By the address, epidemiologists can learn a mother’s water source, whether she lives near an agricultural area and whether she took folic acid early in pregnancy, which helps prevent neural tube defects.

“(Medical records) give us a lot of information about all of the known risk factors,” the epidemiologist says.

The state’s rigorous search of the women’s medical records, along with birth and death certificates, found nothing linking the families who had babies with birth defects.

That finding doesn’t surprise Dr. Beate Ritz, who’s done several studies on birth defects.

Ritz, vice chair of the epidemiology department at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, says medical records are notoriously unreliable: One doctor, for example, might note whether a woman smokes, but another doctor might not.

“From a research point of view, this is very bad research,” she says.

She says medical records reveal whether a woman has been prescribed any drugs, or diagnosed with a certain condition, but they don’t contain detailed information about a mother’s diet or possible toxins she might have been exposed to in the environment.

“The data quality on medical records is so low that it’s not really research,” she says.

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Study: Preschoolers Who Stutter Don’t Suffer Emotional Harm

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Here’s some reassuring news: A study finds that stuttering is common among three- and four-year-olds, but those who stutter are unlikely to suffer long-lasting social or emotional damage.

More from USA Today:

The fact that the children who stutter were not more withdrawn than their peers who don’t stutter was a “very positive finding,” says Sheena Reilly, the study’s lead author.

Stuttering, sometimes called stammering, often includes repetition of words or phrases as well as prolongation of sounds. Some people can outgrow the speech disorder, which often begins in early childhood. It can persist into adulthood for others.

The study included 1,619 4-year-old children in Melbourne, Australia. They were recruited at 8 months.

The study found that the children who stutter had higher verbal and non-verbal scores than their peers who don’t stutter. Tests looked at what the kids understand, what they say and how they solve a puzzle.

The proportion of kids in this group who began stuttering by age 4 was 11%, an amount higher than reported in previous studies. Recovery from stuttering within 12 months of onset was 6.3%, a rate lower than expected, according to the study.

Reilly, associate director of clinical and public health research at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia, says researchers will continue to follow this group of children to learn more about their recovery from stuttering.

Joseph Donaher, academic and research program director for the Center for Childhood Communication at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, says the finding about stuttering’s impact may help allay parents’ worries. “Reports like this help clinicians make the case that some stuttering, especially for a short period of time, doesn’t mean that your child is going to be negatively impacted in the future.”

 

Image: Preschool group, via Shutterstock

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Study: Certain Personality Traits Linked To Having Kids

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A surprising new study found links between certain personality traits and the likelihood that a person will have children. Researchers used data from Norway, which keeps detailed birth records and related personality test information, Science Daily reports.

The scientists found that “neurotic” men—those who tend to be moody and emotional—are having fewer children, a trend that applied only to men born after 1957. In contrast, men who are open and extroverted are having more kids, and women who show up on personality tests as “conscientious” are having fewer kids, regardless of the year they were born.

Vegard Skirbekk, who led the study, theorizes that personality might play a role in Europe’s declining birthrates.

More from Science Daily:

The study was made possible by Norway’s very detailed birth records and an integrated personality survey, which allowed the researchers to examine the connections between both female and male fertility and personality. “For men, often you don’t know exactly how many children they have because information is not matched in the registries, but for Norway we have very exact information,” says Skirbekk.

While the study only considers Norway, Skirbekk says that the findings likely apply more widely. “Norway is a leader country in terms of family dynamics,” says Skirbekk, “Many trends that have been observed first in Norway—increasing cohabitation, divorce rates, and later marriage, for example—have then been observed later in many other parts of the world. Of course it remains to be seen if this phenomenon will also spread.”

Image: Father and sons, via Shutterstock

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