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Working moms healthier, happier than stay-at-home moms

Researchers say mothers with part-time jobs often more sensitive to children

December 15, 2011

Working moms with full-time or part-time jobs report better overall health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms, according to a study in the Journal of Family Psychology.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNC-G) analyzed data collected by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development on 1,364 mothers who were interviewed seven times over the course of a decade, starting when their babies were six months old. Full-time was defined as working more than 32 hours per week, while part-time was considered working between one and 32 hours per week.

The researchers found that moms who worked full-time or part-time reported being less depressed and having better overall health than non-working moms. In addition, the study showed that moms with part-time jobs remained just as involved in their child's schooling and appeared more sensitive to their children than stay-at-home moms.

According to study coauthor Marion O'Brien, "[s]ince 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" (Rochman, "Healthland," Time, 12/13; Preidt, HealthDay, 12/13).

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