Classic article: Garey & Arendell on “mother blame”

In 1999, sociologists Anita Garey (now at U. of Connecticut) and Teresa Arendell (now at Colby College) wrote a white paper for U. of California at Berkeley’s Center for Working Families entitled “Children, work, and family: Some thoughts on ‘mother blame’.” This paper subsequently became the basis for a chapter in a volume entitled Working families: The transformation of the American home.

In ‘Mother blame,’ Garey and Arendell review the literature on motherhood and trace the tendency of society to blame mothers for various conditions, illnesses, and behavior patterns that contemporary science suggests are the result of other factors (such as genetics), not the ‘fault’ of mothers. Examples include blaming mothers for their children’s autism, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and sexual behavior.

Bibliographic information: Garey, A. I., & Arendell, T. (2001). Children, work, and family: Some thoughts on ‘mother blame’ In R. Hertz and N. Marshall, eds., Working families: The transformation of the American home.  Berkeley: University of California Press.

Read the 1999 white paper version of “Mother blame” here (PDF).

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