Send to

Choose Destination
J Health Soc Behav. 1994 Sep;35(3):235-47.

Women, work, and well-being: the importance of work conditions.

Author information

Columbia University School of Public Health, New York, New York 10032.


This study investigates the role of work conditions in mediating the effect of employment status on married women's psychological well-being. Employed wives and full-time homemakers are compared on characteristics of their daily work activities and the consequences of these work conditions for psychological well-being. Using data from a national survey of employed wives and homemakers, I find that full-time housework involves more autonomy, more interruptions, greater physical effort, more routine, fewer time pressures, and less responsibility for matters outside one's control than paid work. Differences in work activities between employed wives and homemakers also have direct implications for well-being. Two of the dimensions examined--the extent to which the worker is responsible for things outside her control, and the amount of routine entailed--are associated with greater depressive symptoms among women, regardless of work status. It appears that, as compared to employed wives, full-time homemakers benefit from having less responsibility for things outside their control. Employed wives appear to benefit from having less routinized work than homemakers. As a result of the different configurations of their work characteristics, employed wives and homemakers experience on average similar levels of depressive symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center