Study: Moms Who Work Full Time Are Healthier

A new study suggests that moms who work full time are healthier, both physically and mentally, than mothers who work part time, those who stay home with their kids, or those who are unemployed.

Researcher Adrianne Frech of the University of Akron examined data on more than 2,500 women who had babies between 1978 and 1995. Here’s more from UPI:

The study found women who returned full time to the workforce shortly after having children reported better mental and physical health — specifically, greater mobility, more energy and less depression at age 40.

“Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically,” Frech said in a statement. “It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy. They have a place where they are an expert on something, and they’re paid a wage.”

But Frech told the New York Times blog Motherlode that her study wasn’t designed to provide additional fuel for the so-called Mommy Wars. “I worry that it’s being misinterpreted as researchers saying that stay-at-home-moms made bad choices,” she said.

The mothers in the study who were the least healthy were those who were “persistently unemployed,” who struggled to find employment even if they wanted to work, UPI said.

“Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically,” Frech said.

Image: Working mom with baby via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Kaye VanKoevering

    On August 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Wow so the mom’s are healthier what about the kids? How selfish is that.

  2. by Laura

    On August 27, 2012 at 8:15 am

    The study is selfish? So you only want studies that make you feel good about your decision, not studies on facts. Ok!!

  3. by Rachel

    On August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    This is really interesting. I have also read a clinical study that says that working moms spend more quality time with their children than stay-at-home moms. There was another study that said kids who are in daycare/preschool do better in the first three years of school both socially and academically. Regardless what decision you make for your family, I always thought that happy moms equals happy kids.

  4. by Faith

    On August 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Returning to work doesn’t necessarily mean working out. Many farmers wives and children work right along with them. Kids learn to work at young ages and grow up knowing that they have to help “make the world go around”. I was practically brought up in my parent’s turkey barn.

  5. by Amy

    On August 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I can think of a bundle of jobs that would be easier than raising children full time. Also, I can think of many that could lead to a less healthy mama. For instance… Managing a household including physical, mental, and emotional “duties,” lack of a better word at the moment, can be much more challenging than spending a day behind a desk. From a mom who’s done both full time stay home and full time working mom lifestyles… I am BEAT after a full day with kids. However, it is so much more rewarding for me. As a mom I put my children first all day and I can see how having a full time job now could be “healthier” for me occasionally to be able to mentally put rhat aside occadionally. However, I feel wonderful knowing I am doing what’s best for my children. In comparing staying home with kids to say, coal mining? I think that would be less healthy. Staying home should be viewed as just another job on the continuum of healthy to unhealthy lifestyles. My husband tells me all the time he’d never change spots with me (he owns and runs a development business and for those of you who know… Lots of stress)… That makes me feel proud, because he’s also beat after a day with kids. What I’m saying is, raiding kids is tough (especially if you take it very seriously), and that could be why it is “less healthy” than many paid positions.