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Working-Class Jobs and New Parents' Mental Health

Authors


  • Department of Psychology, Center for Research on Families, 622 Tobin Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003.

  • Department of Psychology, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610.

  • Student Health Center, New York University, 726 Broadway, Suite 471, New York, NY 10003.

Department of Psychology, Center for Research on Families, 608 Tobin Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (mpj@psych.umass.edu).

Abstract

Little research has explored linkages between work conditions and mental health in working-class employed parents. The current study aims to address this gap, employing hierarchical linear modeling techniques to examine how levels of and changes in job autonomy, job urgency, supervisor support, and coworker support predicted parents' depressive symptoms in a sample of 113 dual-earner couples interviewed five times across the transition to parenthood. Increases in job autonomy and decreases in job urgency predicted fewer depressive symptoms in fathers at 1 year postpartum. For mothers, coworker support predicted fewer depressive symptoms, and supervisor support mitigated the negative effects of job urgency on depressive symptoms. Higher work hours coupled with low job urgency predicted declines in mothers' depressive symptoms across the first year of parenthood. Our findings suggest that interventions that lead to greater autonomy, less job urgency, and more supportive work relations may enhance employee well-being among working-class families.

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