Her book, The Reproduction of Mothering, received the Jessie Bernard Award from the American Sociological Association in 1980. In that book, she challenges the traditional view that females are biologically predisposed toward the nurturing of infants and instead says that mothering fulfills a woman's psychological need for reciprocal intimacy, a need that begins during babyhood when the girl and her mother perceive each other as extensions of themselves. While mothers are also close to their infant sons, they view those sons in a different way and do not share with them the same sense of "oneness" that they share with their daughters:
The author therefore contends that mature males, unaccustomed to a psychologically intimate relationship are, therefore, content to leave mothering to women (Locher 115).
Among Chodorow's other works is the book Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender from 1978.
Chodorow indicates at the outset what the structure of her book will be, beginning with the offering of a theoretical account of the fact that women have unquestionably been given primary responsibility for child care in families. She then explores the supposed biological basis for this fact but argues that such explanations are insufficient and that psychoanalytic theory can better account for the reproduction of mothering. She then considers the issue of psychoanalytic object-relations theory a