LAS VEGAS Working moms have lower rates of depression than their stay-at-home counterparts, but buying into the supermom myth could put working mothers at greater risk for depression, suggests new research to be presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.
The study shows that working mothers who expressed a supermom attitude that work and home lives can be blended with relative ease showed higher levels of depression symptoms than working moms who expected that they would have to forego some aspects of their career or parenting to achieve a work-life balance.
"Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities," said Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student who led the study. In reality, juggling home and work lives requires some sacrifice, she said, such as cutting back on work hours and getting husbands to help more.
"You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you're willing to let some things slide," Leupp said.
Leupp analyzed survey responses from 1,600 women, all 40 years old and married, across the United States. The respondents, a mix of stay-at-home moms and working mothers, were participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor.
As young adults, the women answered questions about work-life balance by ranking how much they agreed with statements, such as "A woman who fulfills her family responsibilities doesn't have time for a job outside the home," "Working wives lead to more juvenile delinquency" and "A woman is happiest if she can stay at home with her children."
Then, when the women were 40, Leupp measured their levels of depression.
She found that the stay-at-home moms had more depression symptoms than the working moms in the study, which agrees with findings from other
|Contact: Daniel Fowler|
American Sociological Association