Better to Have it All?: Employment, Motherhood and Women’s Psychological Well-Being

Hyeyoung Woo, Wichita State University

While there have been dramatic increases in the labor force participation among women with minor children, our understanding about their psychological consequences is limited. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, this study addresses a question of how employment and motherhood are associated with women’s psychological well-being. It also assesses variations in the associations by occupational characteristics and age of children. Results show that the positive effects of employment on women’s psychological well-being are contingent upon family status by providing partial support for the work and family conflict perspective. While the overall association between motherhood and psychological well-being is neither exacerbated nor ameliorated by employment, unemployed women who either never married or childless married women report lower levels of psychological well-being. Variations in the relationship between employment and motherhood associated with psychological well-being by age of children and work characteristics are also found.

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Presented in Poster Session 5