How Do Multiple Roles Affect Women's Health? The Impacts of Employment and Family Roles over Women's Life Course

Gang-Hua Fan, University of Texas at Austin

Two theoretical hypotheses regarding the combination of family and work roles are usually applied to explain health differences between employed women and housewives. The Role Accumulation Hypothesis proposes that the benefits of role accumulation on health tend to outweigh any stress caused by multiple roles. The Role Strain Hypothesis proposes that multiple roles cause role overload and role conflict that results in poorer health. Using data from the Taiwan Social Change Survey conducted in year 2000 and 2002, this study investigates the health effects of employment and family roles on health for women in different age groups. Logistic regression models of three health measures are estimated separately for young, middle-aged, and elderly women. Results suggest that although being employed is associated with better health in general for women, the health benefit may vary depending on the type of employment, the nature of family roles, and stage in the life course.

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Presented in Session 86: Family Dynamics, Intergenerational Relationships, and Health