Study Finds Working Moms Make A Happy Marriage

June 7, 2011

Baby bottle on mother's office deskAccording to The Wall Street Journal, a new study suggests that the key to a happy marriage may be a heavy workload at the office for mom.

The study was based on data from 169 newlywed couples collected over a four-year period. Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the University of California Los Angeles analyzed couples' workloads, levels of work satisfaction and levels of marital satisfaction and found that "stress at work is not always associated with negative relationship outcomes".

As Deseret News reported, working women with children were happier in their marriage when they had heavy workloads at the office. However, it was not just women who were happier in this case--men also reported being happier in their marriage when working mothers juggled significant workloads. The Wall Street Journal noted that this may be due to the fact that husbands tend to help out more at home when working mothers have more responsibilities at the office.

Conversely, the study found that when fathers had the heavier workload, both women and men became less satisfied with their marriages. Interestingly, for nonparent couples, when a husband's workload increased, so did marital satisfaction for both spouses. As predicted, the researchers stated that "wives were more affected by their husbands' workload than vice versa".

The Wall Street Journal noted that working mothers may be happier when busy at work because juggling a lot of responsibilities can be energizing. Deseret News added that this is especially true if a mother has a high-quality job. However, a paper by professors from Syracuse University and the University of Illinois at Chicago pointed out that mothers who prefer to be stay-at-home moms are less likely to be depressed, whereas stay-at-home moms who prefer to work for pay are more likely to become depressed.

According to the study, the data highlights how external factors affect the interaction between work and marriage, which is something that couples, employers and health practitioners should be aware of.

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"Does Busier Job Equal Happier Marriage," blogs.wsj.com, June 6, 2011, Sue Shellenbarger

"Study: Working moms' happiness depends on husbands, quality of work," deseretnews.com June 6, 2011, Sara Israelsen-Hartley

"Workload and the trajectory of marital satisfaction in newlyweds: Jobs satisfaction, gender, and parental status as moderators," ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, May 9, 2011, van Steenbergen EF, Kluwer ES, Karney BR

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