Maternal health, well-being, and employment: a longitudinal comparison of partnered and single mothers in Germany

Kühn, M., Dudel, C., Werding, M.
OSF preprints
20 pages.
originally posted on: 29 May 2020 (2020), unpublished
Open Access


Balancing the different roles of motherhood and employment is challenging. It is assumed to affect maternal distress, which further might cause health problems. For single mothers, time allocation in general and combining family life and employment in particular is even more challenging because single mothers cannot rely on an intra-household division of labor. In this paper, we investigate differences between partnered mothers’ and single mothers’ well-being and health associated with employment. Using longitudinal information from the German Socio-Economic Panel (1984-2017), we apply panel regression techniques that address the potential endogeneity of maternal employment as well as the dynamic nature of the relationship between maternal employment, well-being and health. The results indicate that single mothers benefit more from being employed than partnered mothers. Considering that single mothers have a poorer health than partnered mothers, the beneficial effect of employment on single mothers’ health and well-being is of great importance for health researchers, social scientists, and policy makers.

Keywords: Germany
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.