We contribute to research on the relationships between gender, work, and health by using longitudinal, theoretically driven models of mothers' diverse work pathways and adjusting for unequal selection into these pathways. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Youth-1979 (N = 2,540), we find full-time, continuous employment following a first birth is associated with significantly better health at age 40 than part-time work, paid work interrupted by unemployment, and unpaid work in the home. Part-time workers with little unemployment report significantly better health at age 40 than mothers experiencing persistent unemployment. These relationships remain after accounting for the unequal selection of more advantaged mothers into full-time, continuous employment, suggesting full-time workers benefit from cumulating advantages across the life course and reiterating the need to disentangle health benefits associated with work from those associated with pre-pregnancy characteristics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health