Women's Employment Transitions and Changes in Psychological Distress

Piotr Wilk


The effect of employment on women’s psychological wellbeing has become an important issue in sociology of mental health. Although work-for-pay is thought to have an overall positive impact on women’s psychological wellbeing, not all women equally experience this positive effect. The objective of this study is to assess the effect of transitions in employment status on changes in psychological distress among women in two types of family setting: lone parent families and married couple families (including common-law unions). Using a framework which combines a longitudinal design with a structural equation modeling multigroup analysis, the current study indicates clearly that employment transitions and employment stability have no uniform effect on the mental health of all mothers. Specifically, transition into employment offers a significant reduction in feelings of distress only among married mothers. Single mothers, in contrast, are found to experience a significant increase in the level of distress when they move out of employment. The results of this study point to some advantages of
longitudinal research designs over cross-sectional designs.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25336/P62W2B


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