Working mothers are HAPPIER than stay-at-home mums, study revealsMothers employed part time reported better overall health and fewer symptoms of depressionEven full time workers think that their jobs make them better at parenting
Stay-at-home mothers may give the impression of living the perfect lifestyle – with all the time in the world to bond with their children.
But a new study has revealed that they are more likely to be depressed and suffer ill health than working mums.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina analysed more than 10 years of data, starting in 1991 with interviews of 1,364 mothers shortly after their child”s birth and following them over a decade.
Better in the long-run: Mothers who work part time are more likely to be healthy and happy than stay-at-home mums (file photo)
The findings were published in the December issue of the American Psychological Association”s Journal of Family Psychology.
“In all cases with significant differences in maternal well-being, such as conflict between work and family or parenting, the comparison favored part-time work over full-time or not working,” said lead author Cheryl Buehler, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“However, in many cases the well-being of mums working part time was no different from mums working full time.”
Domestic bliss Working women also think that their jobs make them better at parenting (file photo)
For example, mothers employed part time reported better overall health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home mums.
There were also no reported differences in general health or depressive symptoms between mums who worked part time and those who worked full time, the study said.
The part-time and full-time working mums also showed no significant differences when it came to the women”s perception that their employment supported family life, including their ability to be a better parent.
The analysis found that mothers employed part time were just as involved in their child”s school as stay-at-home mums, and more involved than mums who worked full time.
In addition, mothers working part time appeared more sensitive with their pre-school children and they provided more learning opportunities for toddlers than stay-at-home mums and mums working full time.
Particularly in tough economic times, employers looking for cost savings hire part-time employees because they typically do not receive the same level of benefits, such as health insurance, training and career advancement.
Professor Marion Brian, co-author of the study, said this needs to change.
She commented: “Since part-time work seems to contribute to the strength and well-being of families, it would be beneficial to employers if they provide fringe benefits, at least proportionally, to part-time employees as well as offer them career ladders through training and promotion.”