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Trying to Be 'Supermom' Can Raise Risk for Depression
Date:8/21/2011

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

SATURDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Working moms are less likely to show symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms, a new study finds.

However, working moms who don't cut themselves any slack and have unrealistic expectations about how easy it will be to balance work and family have higher levels of depression than their more laid-back counterparts.

Researchers analyzed survey results from 1,600 married U.S. women who had children at home and were participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.

When the women were between the ages of 22 and 30, they were asked their opinion of such statements as: "A wife who carries out her full family responsibilities doesn't have time for a job outside the home"; "The employment of wives lead to more juvenile delinquency"; "Women are much happier if they stay at home and take care of their children"; and "It is much better for everyone concerned if the man is the achiever outside the home and the woman takes care of home and family."

The responses to the outdated statements were actually intended to ferret out women's attitudes toward work-life balance by seeing how seamless they thought it would be to juggle work and family.

Then, at age 40, researchers measured their levels of depression.

Overall, women who were employed either full or part time were less likely to be depressed than those who stayed at home. Signs of depression included difficult concentrating, feeling lonely, sad or restless, having trouble sleeping or getting going in the morning and feeling unable to shake the blues.

But working women surveyed who were less sure about the ability of women to balance careers and family were also less apt to show symptoms of depression than women who thought it was going to be easy to do both, according to the study.

"The findings really point to the mismatch between women's expectati
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