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Work status, work hours and health in women with and without children
Karolinska Institutet.
Karolinska Institutet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Karolinska Institutet.
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2009 (English)In: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, ISSN 1351-0711, E-ISSN 1470-7926, Vol. 66, no 10, 704-710 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The authors studied self-reported health in women with and without children in relation to their work status (employed, student, job seeker or homemaker), work hours and having an employed partner.

Methods: The study group comprised of 6515 women born in 1960–1979 who were interviewed in one of the Swedish Surveys of Living Conditions in 1994–2003. Self-rated health, fatigue and symptoms of anxiety were analysed.

Results: Having children increased the odds of poor self-rated health and fatigue in employed women, female students and job seekers. The presence of a working partner marginally buffered the effects. In dual-earner couples, mothers reported anxiety symptoms less often than women without children. Few women were homemakers (5.8%). The odds of poor self-rated health and fatigue increased with increasing number of children in employed women, and in women working 40 h or more. Poor self-rated health was also associated with the number of children in students. Many mothers wished to reduce their working hours, suggesting time stress was a factor in their impaired health. The associations between having children and health symptoms were not exclusively attributed to having young children.

Conclusions: Having children may contribute to fatigue and poor self-rated health particularly in women working 40 h or more per week. Student mothers and job seeking mothers were also at increased risk of poor self-rated health. The results should be noted by Swedish policy-makers. Also countries aiming for economic and gender equality should consider factors that may facilitate successful merging of work and family life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BMJ Publishing Group Ltd , 2009. Vol. 66, no 10, 704-710 p.
Keyword [en]
women, mothers, self-rated health, children
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34509DOI: 10.1136/oem.2008.044883ISI: 000270027400012OAI: diva2:284945
Available from: 2010-01-08 Created: 2010-01-08 Last updated: 2015-09-08Bibliographically approved

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