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ASA: Working Moms Experience More Stresses Than Dads
For mothers, job-linked concerns spill over into free time; thinking about family matters tied to stress

MONDAY, Aug. 12 (HealthDay News) -- For working mothers, job-related concerns spill over into unpaid work and free time, and thinking about family matters while engaging in mental labor impairs emotional well-being, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, held from Aug. 10 to 13 in New York City.

Shira Offer, Ph.D., from Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, used the experience sampling method and survey data from the 500 Family Study, including 402 mothers and 291 fathers, to investigate the prevalence, context, and emotional correlates of mental labor in parents of dual-earner families.

Offer found that fathers reported thinking about job-related matters more often than mothers. These concerns did not spill over into unpaid work for fathers, while for mothers these thoughts did tend to spread into unpaid work and free time. Mothers and fathers were equally likely to think about family matters while engaging in mental labor, but only in mothers were these thoughts detrimental to emotional well-being. Paid work was relatively insulated from thoughts about family matters among both mothers and fathers.

"Mothers may feel that they do not devote enough time to their job and have to 'catch up,' and, as a result, they are easily preoccupied with job-related matters outside the workplace," Offer said in a statement. "This illustrates the double burden -- the pressure to be 'good' mothers and 'good' workers -- that working moms experience."

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