A new study announced Monday reveals that mothers who work part time may enjoy better overall health and fewer signs of depression compared to stay-at-home mothers or those who work full-time.
A new study suggests mothers who work part time, especially when their children are very young, have fewer symptoms of depression and better self-reported health than mothers who stay home.
"A mother's economic role is central to family life, and it supports her well-being and her parenting," researcher Cheryl Buehler, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, told WebMD.
While previous research has examined a mom's happiness with full-time work vs. staying home, WebMD cites that there has "been little study of part-time work in particular, and its effect on motherhood, family life, and parenting in general."
Researchers examined data from more than 1,300 mothers across the US, with information being collected from seven different interviews with the mothers over a 10-year period. In the study, part-time work constituted anything from one to 32 hours of work a week.
The results found mothers who worked part-time were "just as involved in their child's school as stay-at-home moms," and more involved than moms who worked full time. "In addition, mothers working part time appeared more sensitive with their pre-school children and they provided more learning opportunities for toddlers than stay-at-home moms and moms working full time," according to the researchers.
"In terms of parenting and balancing work and home, being a part-time worker provides the best of both worlds for mothers," Jennifer Fraone, assistant director of the Boston College Center for Work & Family in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, told WebMD. The reason being, she said, that they simply have more time.
"One thing I really dislike is the 'mommy wars' conflict...that one situation, working or staying home, is better than another," she adds. "This is a very personal decision for every woman and for every couple."
The research was published in the December issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.