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.