Working moms striving to "have it all" now can add another perk to their list of benefits — health. New research from University of Akron Assistant Sociology Professor Adrianne Frech finds that moms who work full time are healthier at age 40 than stay-at-home moms, moms who work part time, or moms who have some work history, but are repeatedly unemployed.
Frech and co-author Sarah Damaske of Pennsylvania State University examined longitudinal data from 2,540 women who became mothers between 1978 and 1995. Accounting for pre-pregnancy employment, race/ethnicity, cognitive ability, single motherhood, prior health conditions and age at first birth, the research reveals that the choices women make early in their professional careers can affect their health later in life. Women who return full time to the workforce shortly after having children report better mental and physical health, i.e. greater mobility, more energy, less depression, etc. at age 40.
"Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically," says Frech. "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."
Rather than fueling the "Mommy Wars" debate, which pits stay-at-home moms against working moms, Frech believes that a recently identified group — she calls this group "persistently unemployed" — deserves further attention, as they appear to be the least healthy at age 40. These women are in and out of the workforce, often not by choice, and experience the highs and lows of finding rewarding work only to lose it and start the cycle again.
"Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically," says Frech.
According to Frech, working full time has myriad benefits, while part-time work offers lower pay, poor chances of promotion, less job security and fewer benefits. Mothers who stay at home may face financial dependence and greater social isolation. Persistent unemployment is a health risk for women, as stress from work instability can cause physical health problems.
"Women with interrupted employment face more job-related barriers than other women, or cumulative disadvantages over time," says Frech. "If women can make good choices before their first pregnancy, they likely will be better off health-wise later. Examples of good choices could be delaying your first birth until you're married and done with your education, or not waiting a long time before returning to the workforce."
Frech says there is hope for young women. She advises young women to get an education and build a work history before having a first child.
"Don't let critical life transitions like marriage and parenthood mean that you invest any less in your education and work aspirations, because women are the ones who end up making more trade-offs for family" Frech says. "Work makes you healthier. You will have the opportunity to save a nest egg. Also, should a divorce happen, it is harder to enter the workforce if you don't have a solid work history. Don't give up on work and education."
From a societal perspective, Frech says that offering childcare and transportation resources to single mothers could result in better employment options for that population.
Sarah Lane | EurekAlert!
Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung
Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses