Family Roles Help Working Women Handle Stress

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Being a wife or mother has its hassles, but a new study says it also protects a working woman from distress if her job becomes less satisfying.

She may still feel lousy after a bad day at work, but the study suggests that changes in her overall job satisfaction do not significantly affect her general level of distress. This buffer effect appeared for women with husbands, other long- term partners or children. In contrast, childless and unattached working women did show job-related changes in distress.

Apparently, family roles offer satisfactions that can offset work troubles, the study's authors said. "The presence of that other role, that family role. . .protects them in terms of their distress from vicissitudes of the workplace," said psychologist Rosalind Barnett.

Working women without family roles might receive similar protection by getting involved in such things as community organizations, said Barnett, a senior research associate at Wellesley College's Center for Research on Women in Massachusetts. Prior studies have shown that the more roles a woman occupies, the better her mental and physical health, Barnett and co-authors wrote in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. …