Katrina Leupp successfully defended her dissertation entitled, "Benefits of the Balancing Act: Motherhood, Employment, and Mental Health," on Tuesday, July 8.
The project explores the benefits and strains of combining employment and family roles. Leupp investigates the mechanisms and conditions under which employment improves the well-being of individuals who perform the greatest amount of family caregiving labor-- mothers caring for children. The dissertation analyzes the effects of employment on depressive symptoms in light of gendered parental responsibilities. Two possible mechanisms through which employment may confer mental health benefits are considered: identity accumulation, and for married women, gains in relative spousal resources.The social roles of parenthood and employment are also considered from a life course perspective, examining their effects on the distribution of depressive symptoms by age for men and women. These analyses enrich understandings of how and when employment improves mental well-being, and highlight the force of gendered parental responsibilities in shaping the effects of work and family roles.
Katrina's committee included Becky Pettit (Chair), Julie Brines, David Takeuchi and Stewart Tolnay. Congratulations!