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Less depression for working moms who expect that they 'can't do it all'
Date:8/19/2011

studies. "Employment is ultimately beneficial for women's health, even when differences in marital satisfaction and working full or part time are ruled out," said Leupp. She added that there is some truth to the adage, "Stay-at-home moms have the hardest job in the world."

But among the working moms in the study, Leupp found that those with the supermom attitudewho as young adults consistently agreed with statements that women can combine employment and family carewere at a higher risk for depression compared with working moms who had a more realistic view.

"Employed women who expected that work-life balance was going to be hard are probably more likely to accept that they can't do it all," Leupp said. These moms may be more comfortable making tradeoffs, such as leaving work early to pick up kids, and, Leupp shows they have fewer depression symptoms.

But women who expect that work and family life can be satisfactorily combined without many tradeoffs may be more likely to feel like they are failing when they struggle to achieve this ideal. Guilt over not being able to manage the work-family balance and frustration over division of household labor could also play roles in the increase of depression symptoms in the supermom group.

"Supermoms have higher expectations for fairness, so it makes sense that they would be more frustrated with the division of household chores," Leupp said.

So, should superdads help? Perhaps. Leupp did not include fathers in her study, but says that most men don't cut back on employment hours to accommodate child rearing.

"Employment is still ultimately good for women's health," Leupp said. "But for better mental health, working moms should accept that they can't do it all."


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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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