Being a ‘supermum’ can be depressing

According to research presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association last month, setting realistic expectations reduces the risk of depression among mothers. 

Katrina Leupp, a University of Washington sociology graduate student, analysed survey responses from 1600 women, consisting of a mix of stay-at-home mothers and working mothers, who had participated in a longitudinal survey.

The study found the stay-at-home mothers had more depression symptoms than the working mothers, which is consistent with results of other studies. However, among the working women, those with a ‘supermum’ attitude – who as young adults had felt that employment and family care could be balanced without many trade-offs – were more likely to become depressed. 

According to Ms Leupp, “employed women who expect that work-life balance is going to be hard are probably more likely to accept that they can&rsquo