The stay-at-home mom vs. working mom conversation is often heated with moms on both sides of the issue often pitted against one another. Recently Marissa Mayer, the new CEO of Yahoo!, was dragged into the conversation after she declared she would be returning to work shortly after the birth of her son.
Instead of debating the merits of both choices, I often encourage moms to look at the benefits of their individual choice and now moms that choose to work outside of the home have a new benefit to add to their list, personal health.
Adrianne Frech, a University of Akron Assistant Sociology Professor, recently published the results from a study that examined the health of moms that worked full time, part-time, moms that chose to stay at home and those that have dealt with repeated unemployment. Frech’s assessment of longitudinal data from 2,540 determined that at age 40, the full-time working mom was healthier than any other group.
Frech acknowledges the “mommy wars” issue but considers another finding a more important issue. Moms that were “persistently unemployed” were the least healthy at age 40. Frech even considers persistent unemployment to be a health risk for moms.
"Struggling to hold onto a job or being in constant job search mode wears on their health, especially mentally, but also physically," says Frech
Other factors that likely contributed to the lower self-reported health level by those that were persistently unemployed include a lack of stable health insurance coverage due to persistent job losses as well as the lack of a consistent social network.
Frech presented her findings on Sunday, during the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver, Colorado.