While admittedly only tenuously related to family law issues, broadly construed, the data set and results from a recent study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family (77:355-72, Apr. 2015), caught my eye. In what is described as "the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent [here, mothers'] time" (more commentary here) on childhood outcomes, Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter?, the authors (Melissa A. Milkie et al.) conclude that, overall and on balance, it matters far less than one might assume. An excerpted abstract follows.
"Using time diary and survey data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics Child Development Supplement, the authors examined how the amount of time mothers spent with children ages 3–11 (N=1,605) and adolescents 12–18 (N=778) related to offspring behavioral, emotional, and academic outcomes and adolescent risky behavior. Both time mothers spent engaged with and accessible to offspring were assessed. In childhood and adolescence, the amount of maternal time did not matter for offspring behaviors, emotions, or academics, whereas social status factors were important. For adolescents, more engaged maternal time was related to fewer delinquent behaviors, and engaged time with parents together was related to better outcomes. Overall, the amount of mothers’ time mattered in nuanced ways, and, unexpectedly, only in adolescence."