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David Plaut: Off the Cuff

Working Moms Enjoy Better Physical, Mental Health

Published October 19, 2012 9:52 AM by David Plaut

Mothers who work full-time appear to be more healthy at age 40 than those who stay home, work part time, or those who find themselves repeatedly out of work. This was the result of a study reported recently at the  the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Co-author Adrianne Frech, found that work is good for both physical and mental health, for many reasons. "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," she said. However, Frech and her co-author Sarah Damaske said rather their research highlights a recently identified group, whom they label the “persistently unemployed.” They suggested that this group deserves more attention as they seem less healthy than the working mothers.

Persistently unemployed mothers are in and out of the workforce, often not by their own choice. They repeatedly experience the highs and lows of finding rewarding work, only to lose it and have to start all over again."Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically," noted Frech.

"Women with interrupted employment face more job-related barriers than other women, or cumulative disadvantages over time," she added.


This becomes a health risk because of the stress caused by work instability.

posted by David Plaut

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