The mental health implications of maternal employment: Working versus at-home mothering identities

Chester, A and Elgar, K 2007, 'The mental health implications of maternal employment: Working versus at-home mothering identities', Australian eJournal for the Advancement of Mental Health, vol. 13, no. 12, pp. 1-9.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The mental health implications of maternal employment: Working versus at-home mothering identities
Author(s) Chester, A
Elgar, K
Year 2007
Journal name Australian eJournal for the Advancement of Mental Health
Volume number 13
Issue number 12
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Australian Network for Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention for Mental Illness
Abstract Past research exploring the effect of employment on mothers' mental health has largely constructed maternal employment as a problem of identity and energy supply within the theory of multiple roles. Specifically, maternal employment has been investigated as either beneficial (role enhancement hypothesis) or detrimental (role strain hypothesis) to women's psychological wellbeing, with little consideration given towards a more complex relationship. As such, despite three decades of research, there is inconsistent support for both the role strain and role enhancement hypotheses. The few trends to emerge from this research suggest that while maternal employment may be associated with better psychological functioning, this effect may be mediated by the over-absorption of one's time and resources within a particular identity role. Future research would benefit from revising the manner in which maternal employment is constructed as a variable in order to yield more consistent and usable findings.
Subject Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Keyword(s) maternal employment
mother
mothering identities
multiple role theory
role strain
role enhancement
ISSN 1446-7984
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