(GREENSBORO, N.C.) — Can part-time work increase the chances of full-time happiness for modern moms? Yes, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.
“In all cases with significant differences in maternal well-being, such as conflict between work and family or parenting, the comparison favored part-time work over full-time or not working,” the study’s lead author, Cheryl Buehler, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said in a statement released by the APA.
Buehler and co-author Marion O’Brien, a colleague at UNC-Greensboro, analyzed interviews conducted with more than 1,300 moms. Among their findings:
— Part-time working moms and full-time working moms reported better health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms.
— Part-time working moms were as involved in their child’s school as stay-at-home moms, and more involved than full-time working moms.
— Part-time working moms provided their toddlers with more learning opportunities than both stay-at-home moms and full-time working moms.
With respect to the finding on depression, Buehler and O’Brien’s report stated that, theoretically, “a mother’s participation in employment provides her with support and resources that a mother who spends full time at home does not receive.” They said mothers of infants — and pre-school age children in particular — tended to be more isolated than women with school-age children and could experience higher levels of child-related stress.
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