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

use," Correll said. "If you choose someone who will be a helpmate to you, that may lead to lower levels of depression."

Some of the women who think it's not difficult to work and take care of kids may also be buying into the "supermom" complex -- pressuring themselves to be overachievers in all aspects of life, Leupp said.

Instead, working moms may be happier when they delegate and let a few things slide -- in other words, let someone with more time run the bake sale, make sure your husband is doing his share of laundry folding and limit your work hours when you can.

"We do know that, having to do things like answer an email at night is associated with feelings of guilt for women but not for men, and that guilt is associated with psychological distress," Leupp said.

Though researchers didn't study the nature of women's jobs, prior research has shown the greatest psychological benefits from jobs in which women have autonomy and more control over their schedule, she added.

So how can working moms cope?

"Be gentle with yourself and accept that balancing work and family feels hard because it is hard, rather than feeling that guilty or unsuccessful if you can't devote as much time as you would like to your job and to your family," Leupp said.

More information

For more information about working women, visit the Women Employed.

SOURCE: Katrina Leupp, graduate student, University of Washington, Seattle; Shelley Correll, Ph.D, associate professor, sociology, Stanford University; Aug. 20, 2011, presentation, American Sociological Association annual meeting, Las Vegas


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