English title: Work life and mental wellbeing of single and non-single working mothers in Scandinavia

Author(s): Torill Bull - Maurice B. Mittelmark -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2009

Abstract

Background This study examined levels and predictors of mental wellbeing in Scandinavian working single and coupled mothers, with a special focus on financial stress, job characteristics, work-family conflict. Methods The European Social Survey Round 2 (2005) provided questionnaire data from 73 single and 432 coupled working mothers in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Respondents answered questions about the outcome variables life satisfaction, happiness, and positive affect, and predictor variables financial stress, job characteristics, work-family conflict, and social support. Hierarchical multiple regression was used to assess the relationships between predictor variables and mental wellbeing outcomes. Results Single working mothers scored significantly lower on life satisfaction and happiness, but not on positive affect, than did coupled mothers. Financial stress was higher in the single mother group. There were no significant differences in levels of enriching or stressful job characteristics, or in levels of social support. While financial stress and work-family conflict were important predictors in both groups, the relationship between financial stress and wellbeing was far stronger in the single mother group. Confidant support was a significant predictor only in the single mother group, and social participation only in the coupled mothers group. Conclusions This study suggests that the Scandinavian welfare democracies have not yet been successful in relieving the financial pressure experienced by single working mothers. Development of efficient financial support systems should be prioritized. Ways to reduce work-family conflict in both single and coupled mothers in Scandinavia should also be given increased attention.

Volume: 37

Issue: 6

From page no: 562

To page no: 568

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/1403494809340494

Journal: Scandinavian Journal of Public Health