Are working mothers healthier and happier? How juggling career and children could be good for you

Are working mothers healthier and happier How juggling career and children could be good for youFinancial independence and social interaction in the workplace found to reduce stressScientists suggest young
women should build a work history before starting a family

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UPDATED:

17:58 GMT, 27 August 2012

Women who return to work shortly after starting a family have better mental and physical health than those who opt to stay-at-home, according to research.

Experts from the University of Akron and Penn State University found that women who juggled career and family life reported higher levels of energy and mobility and were less likely to encounter periods of depression.

Financial independence and social interaction in the workplace were found to help reduce levels of stress, worry and sadness encountered by many first-time parents.

According to researchers from the University of Akron and Penn State University working mothers are happier and healthier than those who opt to stay at home

According to researchers from the University of Akron and Penn State University working mothers are happier and healthier than those who opt to stay at home

Researchers are now encouraging young
women to build a work history before having children to make it easier to return to the
workplace in the future.

Lead researcher professor Adrianne Frech said: 'Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically.

'It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they're paid a wage.'

The latest study, which included data on 2,540 women who became mothers from 1978 to 1995, backs previous research which suggests working mothers are happier and healthier than those who stay at home.

The Gallup study published in May, found 28 per cent of unemployed mothers described themselves as depressed, compared to 17 per cent of employed mothers.

While the British Journal of Epidemiology ad Community Health reported that 'housewives' were more likely to be overweight (38 percent) than those who juggled childcare and a career (23 percent).

In the recent study those who persistently dropped in and out of the workforce, often not by choice, reported the most health problems.

Frech added: 'Struggling to hold on to a job or being in constant job-search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically.

'It is harder to enter the workforce if you don't have a solid work history. Don't give up on work and education.'

A number of high profile women including Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Shirley Conran, author of Superwoman, have shared their own experiences to help other working mothers successfully balance career and family.