When it comes to being a mom, finding a balance between work and staying at home to raise a family could have significant health benefits, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. Moms with jobs reported feeling better overall than stay-at-home moms.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina Greensboro analyzed data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. It included interviews with more than 1,300 mothers conducted shortly after they gave birth, as well as follow-up interviews and observations spanning more than 10 years.
“In all cases with significant differences in maternal well-being, such as conflict between work and family or parenting, the comparison favoured part-time work over full-time or not working,” said lead author Cheryl Buehler, PhD, professor of human development and family studies, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “However, in many cases the well-being of moms working part time was no different from moms working full time.”
The findings were published in the December issue of APA’s Journal of Family Psychology and included some of the following:
• Part-time working moms and full-time working moms reported better health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms.
• Part-time working moms were as involved in their child’s school as stay-at-home moms and more involved than full-time working moms.
• Part-time working moms were more sensitive to their pre-school children and provided their toddlers with more learning opportunities than both stay-at-home moms and full-time working moms.
Co-author of the study, Marion O’Brien, PhD, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro also said that since part-time work seems to contribute to the strength and well-being of families, it would be beneficial to employers if they provided “fringe benefits” to part-time employees.
Terry Sawh, President of Toronto’s Topnotch Employment Services, says although it’s challenging for employers to offer significant part-time opportunities due to corporate structure, there should be a deliberate attempt to create such opportunities.
“Part-time working mothers are generally happier because of the feeling of independence and also being a financial contributor, whilst having the opportunity to be integrated and engaged into the workforce,” said Sawh.
The study’s limitations included the fact that only one child in the family was included and its exclusive focus on work hours, according to the authors. They recommended that future research include other employment-related factors such as professional status, scheduling flexibility, work commitment and shift schedules.
Source: Global News | Mothers with jobs are healthier, happier: Study