Moms who hold jobs are healthier and happier than those who stay at home during their children's infancy and pre-school years.
Researchers analysed the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study, beginning in 1991 and involving interviews with 1,364 mothers shortly after childbirth, including subsequent interviews and observations for a decade.
"In many cases, the well-being of moms working part time was no different from moms working full time," said Cheryl Buehler, professor of human development and family studies, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, who led the study.
For example, mothers employed part time reported better overall health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms, The Journal of Family Psychology reports.
There were also no reported differences in general health or depressive symptoms between moms employed part time and those who worked full time, the study said.
The analysis found that mothers employed 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, according to a California statement.
Part time mothers 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.
Particularly in tough economic times, employers looking for cost savings hire part-time employees because they typically do not receive the same level of benefits, such as health insurance, training and career advancement, the authors pointed out.
"Since part-time work seems to contribute to the strength and well-being of families, it would be beneficial to employers if they provide fringe benefits, at least proportionally, to part-time employees...," said study co-author Marion O'Brien, professor and Buehler's counterpart.