Maternal Health, Well-Being, and Employment: A Longitudinal Comparison of Partnered and Single Mothers in Germany

Mine Kühn , Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Christian Dudel, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Martin Werding, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Challenges with balancing the different roles of motherhood and employment are assumed to affect maternal distress which further might cause health problems. For single mothers, time allocation in general and combining family and employment in particular is more challenging, because single mothers cannot rely on intra-household division of labor. In this paper, we investigate differences between partnered mothers’ and single mothers’ well-being and health associated with employment. Using longitudinal information from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2016), we apply panel regression techniques that address the potential endogeneity of maternal employment, as well as the dynamic nature of the relationship between maternal employment, well-being and health. The results show that single mothers benefit more than partnered mothers from employment. Considering that single mothers have a poorer health than partnered mothers, the beneficial effect of employment on single mothers’ well-being and health is of great importance for health researchers and policy makers.

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 Presented in Session 90. Work-Life Balance, Parenthood, and Health