Background/purpose: Over half of mothers with infants under one year are employed. This study explored the work experiences of women who returned to employment during the first year and the relationship of employment characteristics to maternal health.
Design/methods: Longitudinal, repeated measures during pregnancy and 1,4, 8, and 12 months postpartum. Data on employment characteristics and health status gathered between 1990-95 by questionnaire from 149 employed, partnered women residing in a large urban area in the northwestern United States.
Results: Work-family interference increased significantly between pregnancy and each postpartum occasion (p <.001). Between 19-34% of the variance in health status at each measurement occasion was explained by employment characteristics. Work-family interference consistently contributed to the variance in health status.
Conclusions: New models are needed to further understand the complex interplay of work and family lives.