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Ment Retard. 2004 Dec;42(6):413-26.

Economic implications of caregiving at midlife: comparing parents with and without children who have developmental disabilities.

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  • 1School of Social Work, University North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 301 Pittsboro St.-CB 3550, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


We compared the economic well-being and maternal employment of parents whose children did or did not have developmental disabilities. This prospective study is a secondary analysis of data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, collected when respondents were aged 18, 36, and 53, on average. Although the two groups were similar at age 18, income and savings differed markedly by age 53, but statistically significant differences were not found on other measures. Mothers of children with disabilities were less likely to have job spells lasting more than 5 years and had lower earnings when they were 36 years old. Further, there was a trend for them to be less likely to have full-time jobs as their children grew older.

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