Women Who Work In Midlife Tend To Live Longer, Study Finds
Monday mornings can be rough. In the face of burnout or an upcoming presentation, the comfort of your bed somehow becomes harder to ignore. If you're wondering whether those early morning struggles are worth it, this recent study might motivate you to get out of bed and get to work.
A study recently published in the journal Demography found that women who work consistently during their "prime midlife working years" were more physically and mentally healthy later in life than unemployed women.
The study, led by research scientist Jennifer Caputo, Ph.D., analyzed data from 5,100 women. The survey began when the women were between 30 and 44 years old and ended when they were 66 to 80 years old.
The collected data showed that women who were employed for the first 20 years of the study were less depressed when they entered retirement age and lowered their risk of dying by 25% compared to women who did not work for pay.
"Paid work is one of the most important social determinants of health for both women and men," the study wrote. This is because employment can provide both financial and social resources that promote stability and well-being.
Women who had negative experiences at work (not finding satisfaction in their jobs or being victims of discrimination) were more likely to experience depressive symptoms and declined health but still had greater health than women who were unemployed.
"Our findings support the conclusion that women's health is benefited by being employed, regardless of their economic situation and even if they don't always have the best working experiences," Caputo said in a news release.
Living in a generation where women (even young women) are visible and empowered doesn't necessarily simplify the conflicts of work-family balance. Studies have shown that women experience 30% to 40% more guilt than men when work interferes with personal life.
Deciding whether to work for pay or stay at home is a personal choice and should not be influenced by societal pressure. While the statistics from this study are scientifically proven, other studies have revealed the many benefits of being a stay-at-home mom.
In one 2013 study, children of stay-at-home parents had higher GPAs than other students, and the long-standing infant-parent attachment theory recognizes that children with a stable and consistent primary caregiver are less likely to have behavioral and psychological issues later in life.
Whatever you decide, know that your parenting path is your choice and should be made based upon your own personal and family needs. If you choose to go to work, surround yourself with a support system both in the office and at home.
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