, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 83-94

Depression Risk among Mothers of Young Children: The Role of Employment Preferences, Labor Force Status and Job Quality

Purchase on Springer.com

$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

This study examines how desire for employment, employment status, and job quality associate with depressive symptoms among mothers of infants and toddlers. We use the longitudinal NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD) to estimate regression models with a variety of controls including prior depression. We find that employment in high-quality versus low-quality jobs is associated with reductions in depressive symptoms, both for mothers who do and do not desire employment. Furthermore, non-employed mothers have elevated depression levels only if they desire employment. Our results demonstrate that neither employment nor non-employment is best for all mothers of young children; rather mental health depends on mothers’ employment preferences and, when they do work for pay, job quality.

The Study of Early Child Care was conducted by the NICHD Early Child Care Research Network supported by NICHD through a cooperative agreement that calls for scientific collaboration between the grantees and the NICHD staff. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the American Sociological Association and Midwest Sociological Society meetings in 2007 and at the Population Association of America meetings in 2010.