Working More and Feeling Better - Journal Article Summary

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Schnittker, Jason. 2007. “Working More and Feeling Better: Women’s Health, Employment, and Family Life, 1974-2004. American Sociological Review 72(2):221-238.

This study investigates the relationship between women’s employment and health unlike other studies, which have used mental health as the outcome. The research questions addressed in this study were: Has the health of women improved or declined? Has the gender gap in health altered and, if so, why? Does integrating long work hours with caring for a child diminish the relationship between employment and health and, if so, have current work-family patterns restrained any gains in health? Schnittker included changes in composition (e.g., are more women suffering since more women are combining their jobs with raising a child) and changes in association (e.g., do the marked improvements in health related to employment lesson with the birth of a child). The changes in composition and changes in association were examined with cumulative trends in health. The independent variables in this study were women’s work hours, education and family income. The dependent variable was self-rated health. Reported work hours were separated into four categories and the reference category was “not working” for this study. Several control variables were, as well, that are related to understanding trends. Education was divided into four categories with “less than high school” as the reference category. Family income used a constant of $1, 986 dollars. Schnittker analyzed whether or not children were in the home instead of focusing how many children because of the various work-family adjustments and different levels of responsibility that come with children’s different ages. For this study, separate dummy variables were used having a child under the age of 6 and having a child between 6 and 17 years old with having no children under the age of 18 years old presently in the home. The study used data from the...
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