The research, published in the March issue of the journal Developmental Psychology, assessed the behavior, academic achievement and psychological health of more than 6,000 children and found no permanent negative effects caused by their mother’s absence. In some cases, the study found, children may be helped by the income their mothers bring in.

Experts say the new research, conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Elisabeth Harvey, supports what other similar studies increasingly indicate: that the quality of family life generally, including the mental stability and maturity of parents, is vastly more important in determining how children fare in life than the question of whether their mothers are employed.

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