Entries in Working Mothers (4)


Study: Moms Who Don't Work Are at a Greater Risk for Depression

Siri Stafford/Thinkstock(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- Can part-time work increase the chances of full-time happiness for modern moms?  Yes, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.

“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,” the study’s lead author, Cheryl Buehler, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said in a statement released by the APA.

Buehler and co-author Marion O’Brien, a colleague at UNC-Greensboro, analyzed interviews conducted with more than 1,300 moms.  Among their findings:

-- 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 provided their toddlers with more learning opportunities than both stay-at-home moms and full-time working moms.

With respect to the finding on depression, Buehler and O’Brien’s report stated that, theoretically, “a mother’s participation in employment provides her with support and resources that a mother who spends full time at home does not receive.” They said mothers of infants -- and pre-school age children in particular -- tended to be more isolated than women with school-age children and could experience higher levels of child-related stress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Working Moms May Have Happier Marriages

Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Between juggling kids, career, housework and husband, it would seem the life of a working mom would make for a strained marriage, but the opposite may be true, according to a recent study published in the May edition of Journal of Family Psychology.

Among couples in the early years of their marriage, couples in which the wife continued to work after their kids were born reported higher marital satisfaction than their stay-at-home counterparts.

Though many factors feed into why working moms may make happier wives, researchers said when the wife works outside the home, the husband has to pitch in more with kids and housework, and marital relationships benefit from the more equitable division of labor.

"The research repeatedly shows that when husbands help more with childcare, wives are happier.  We think that may be part of what's going on here," said Ben Karney, professor of social psychology at UCLA and co-author on the study.

The long-standing trope of the working mother is that in an attempt to "have it all," she barely has time to breathe, never mind nurture her love life, but Karney's study suggests that this might not always be the case.

Researchers, including Karney and partner researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, questioned 169 couples over the course of the first four years of marriage, and for a third of them, the first few years of parenthood, in order to find this out.  They looked at a particular subset of working couples: those who were college educated and reported being pretty happy with their jobs.

When it was just the two of them, they found that heavy workloads didn't hurt the marriage.  In fact, the more hours the husband worked, the happier both spouses were, probably because at this point in the marriage, working hard is seen as an investment in the couple's future, researchers noted.

But when kids were thrown into the mix, everything changed.  Hard-working husbands were now seen as negligent fathers and spouses, putting many of the marriages on the rocks.

Once a baby is on board, researchers found that the harder the men worked, the less satisfied both partners were with their marriage.  Oddly enough, the opposite held true for women: The more hours new moms worked at their job, the happier both spouses were with the marriage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Women Stressed More Than Men When Work Cuts Into Home Time

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Thanks to technology, we can link into work anywhere, anytime, but the constant office communication can take a toll on the work-life balance, especially for working mothers.

Women tend to feel more guilt and psychological distress than men do when work follows them home, according to a study published Wednesday in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

These findings held true despite the fact that women were found to balance work and family life just as well as men.

"Although men did report higher levels of work contact while at home, what we saw was that the level of contact didn't make a difference for mens' feelings of guilt or distress.  It did for women," said Scott Schieman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto and a co-author of the study.

While men and women may feel equally annoyed or inconvenienced by those late-night work e-mails flagged "urgent," this kind of out-of-office intrusion seems to disproportionately affect women, said Schieman.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Links Maternal Employment to Child's Body Weight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The length of maternal employment could have an adverse affect on childhood obesity, according to a new study.

Investigators at the University of Chicago found that for each year a mother continues to work, her child's body mass index (BMI) creeps up a small but statistically significant percentage.

"It amounts to about 1.5 to 2 pounds per year above average, depending on the child's age," Taryn W. Morrissey, Ph.D., one of the report's authors and an assistant professor with the department of public administration and policy at American University, told ABC News.

She noted the difference doesn't make it more likely that a working mother's child will fall into overweight or obese BMI category than any other child, just more likely that the child will be nudged into the higher end of the normal range.

Morrissey seemed like a very smart woman but I didn't really want to talk to her. I was more interested in speaking in one of her co-authors who herself is a working mother. She was out of the country on business.

Morrissey explained that the authors found no association between how much time a mother spends at the office and the amount of time her brood spends exercising or parked in front of the TV.  Although they didn't find a relationship, they suspect the difference is down to harried, multitasking working mothers resorting more often to fast food and takeout rather than preparing meals at home.

The correlation between maternal employment and BMI was strongest among higher income families.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio