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'Homemakers' more likely to struggle with mental health, study finds

Posted by on Dec. 11, 2017 at 8:29 PM
  • 133 Replies

'Homemakers' more likely to struggle with mental health, study finds 

The effect was seen for both men and women CREDIT: DEAN MITCHELL /E+ 

Stay-at-home mothers and fathers are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, a study by the International Longevity Centre has found.

Both men and women who said they were "homemakers" at 55 were more likely to have suffered from psychological problems in both childhood and adulthood than other groups, researchers discovered. 

The data, published today [TUES] in two studies, shows that having a mental health problem in childhood was associated with a 2.8 times greater likelihood of being a homemaker at age 55. 

The researchers said that while much research had previously been done into the link between having a mental health problem and being long-term unemployed or sick, it had not previously showed a direct link between staying at home to care for a home or family and suffering from psychological problems. 

Professor Sarah Vickerstaff, of the University of Kent, who led the research on one of the reports, said that the pattern was likely to be partly down to children with mental health problems being less likely to stay in work as adults, but that being out of work as an adult could compound the problem. 

"I think there's the question on whether mental distress in childhood is more likely to lead to someone not being in the labour market and whether that for women especially is reflected in them being homemakers. 

"But then we know from other research that people who are out of the labour market for any length of time and want to be employed can have problems with their mental health," she said. 

She added that the effect had been stronger in men, suggesting that they were more adversely affected by being out of work.

The authors said the findings suggested that the group needed more mental health support than was previously thought. 

"The research helps identify that homemakers, with more 'limited connections' to the labour market, could benefit from the provision and promotion of mental health services, due to the association between psychological distress earlier in the life course and being a homemaker in later life," the study said. 

It added that earlier intervention with children who were struggling with their mental health could help reduce the incidence of problems later on. 

Professor Jenny Head, of UCL, who also worked on the data, said the researchers hoped the study would encourage better assistance for children to help them stay in work as adults. 

"Interventions at all ages are going to be relevant to helping people stay in work at older ages," she said. "If you have mental health problems as an adult you also need support to remain in work."

David Sinclair, director of ILC-UK said: "It is clear from this research that some of the drivers for unemployment in our 50s are determined very early in our lives. 

"We must ensure that mental health strategies focus on supporting people of all ages. Early intervention is key if we are to ensure that people can continue to work into old age."

by on Dec. 11, 2017 at 8:29 PM
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PPCLC
by Lisa on Dec. 11, 2017 at 8:35 PM
9 moms liked this

For many SAH parents, just about the only people they see are their children and perhaps others who also have children.

Being around your kid's all day, while you love and treasure them, can drive anyone buggy after a while.

In all sincerity, however, this is an interesting study.

PamR
by Ruby Member on Dec. 11, 2017 at 8:40 PM
4 moms liked this

Being a sah parent can be isolating.  It's also a job that doesn't get a lot of respect.  This article sort of implies women become homemakers because they have emotional issues that make them unable to hold jobs outside the home.

Missus_Mom
by Silver Member on Dec. 11, 2017 at 9:13 PM
7 moms liked this
Omg.
Being present and raising children does not make you mentally unstable or mean you are not emotionally capible of maintaining a career.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 11, 2017 at 9:28 PM

I think being at home FT with kids could be very isolating. I never did it, but I can imagine that life being very isolating. Personally, I think PT is the way to go. I loved working PT, and it was good for our family.

Now I was retired, without kids in the home by age 55, but I have a full life...and a whole lot of freedom.

lukesmom2002
by Silver Member on Dec. 11, 2017 at 9:48 PM
6 moms liked this
My issues with anxiety, depression and bipolar were worse when I was an at home mom. I work full time now and I haven't had a relapse in two years. Exercise, eating right, hanging out with friends and other activities with my son were fine but working has helped me so much. I was a good mom I am an even better mom now.
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Dec. 11, 2017 at 10:23 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting lukesmom2002: My issues with anxiety, depression and bipolar were worse when I was an at home mom. I work full time now and I haven't had a relapse in two years. Exercise, eating right, hanging out with friends and other activities with my son were fine but working has helped me so much. I was a good mom I am an even better mom now.

When my kids were little, I worked in a very large NICU- we had 25-30 nurses working every shift, every day. Most of us were around the same age, women with young kids. We called going to work, "getting out of the cage."


Luvnlogic
by Platinum Member on Dec. 11, 2017 at 10:24 PM
1 mom liked this
Hmm...so they’re saying mental health struggles were both a precursor to and then exacerbated by being a homemaker? I can see that, honestly. I wear down more easily when I work, which leaves less of my inner peace and patience for my family. But you do lose some independence, socialization, and the respect of some of your peers when you choose to not work. Everything is a trade off.
la_bella_vita
by Bella on Dec. 12, 2017 at 8:48 PM

When I was a Stay at home, my anxiety was awful. I'm part time now and my anxiety is much better and I'm happier in general. 

I don't think that's the same for everyone.

Btamilee2753
by Lee on Dec. 12, 2017 at 8:58 PM
1 mom liked this

I actually think I had less anxiety when I was a stay at home mom.  When I went back into the work force, I was also dealing with helping to care for my mom who had MS, so that may have been a factor.  I do think there are probably a lot of other factors.  

meriana
by Ruby Member on Dec. 12, 2017 at 10:28 PM
3 moms liked this

That may be true for some but it's definitely not true in general. The article almost makes it sound like a woman needs to have, and should have a job outside the home, or she's going to have some very possibly severe issues. Goes along with the idea that a woman isn't contributing to society unless she has a job, better yet a career, outside the home. 

I've worked outside the home and I was miserable. It wasn't that I minded working, it was that I really don't like being tied to someone else's schedule and not being there for my kids.

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