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Working Moms Are Healthier And Happier Than Stay At Homes: At Least Until School Starts
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Working Moms Are Healthier And Happier Than Stay at Homes: At Least Until School Starts

A new study might be pitting working moms and stay at home moms (SAHM) against one another in the age old battle of who does the most work and who does it best. That research, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, was completed after interviews with over a thousand mothers that spanned the time period from their children's infancy to the elementary school years. The study looked at the affects of working, both part time and full time versus stay at home moms in a number of categories.

Researchers asked the women a number of questions about their levels of stress, depressive symptoms, general feelings of happiness and overall health as well as how much they felt that their time was stretched too far or how often work conflicted with family care duties.

Started several years ago, the researchers surveyed over 1300 women from nine different states and then repeated their surveys until each of the children reached grade school ages. After compiling the data and drawing their conclusions, they were able to complete their report for publication in the journal. Those findings found that women who had jobs that took them outside of the home tended to be physically healthier than women who stayed at home with their children, especially in the ages before they started schooling. The working mothers had lower rates of depression as well. Those benefits were noted for the women whether they worked full time jobs or only part time.

The stay at home mothers tended to be more isolated from the outside world, tending toward an increased risk of both depression and stress. Those feelings typically lessened once the child entered school.

While there was little difference overall between the two sets of working moms, those who worked part time, defined by the study as working between one and thirty two hours each week, said that they felt less time conflict between work and family than the full time mothers did.

The study did not look at women who worked a full time job but remained at home to complete it, nor did it look at single mothers who are at higher risk for stress whether they are working or not. In addition, researchers did not separate the mothers by demographics to determine if the effects and benefits were the same for women of various ages or ethnic groups. The study also did not look at the effects on the children of either group of women.


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