Does Being a Stay At Home Mom Lead To Depression?

Feeling blue? Stressed?† Not enough laughter in your life?† If you’re a mother, the issue could be whether you are working outside the home or not, according to a Gallup survey.† After interviewing 60,000 moms, the survey learned, “Non-employed women with young children at home are more likely than women with young children at home who are employed for pay to report experiencing sadness and anger a lot of the day ‘yesterday.’ Stay-at-home moms are also much more likely to report having ever been diagnosed with depression than employed moms. Employed moms are about as emotionally well-off as working women who do not have children at home.”

Based on their analysis, they project it’s pretty clear that being home with the children is depressing.† But is that true?† Upon further examination, the bigger factor appears to be income — the lower the income, the less likely they are to be happy.

As Bryce Covert notices at Forbes Woman, “Those with annual household incomes of less than $36,000 are less likely to report smiling or laughing a lot the day before or to have experienced happiness or enjoyment. They are also slightly less likely to have learned something interesting. On the flip side, they are more likely to have experienced stress and worry on a daily basis than low-income mothers who work outside the home. All of this leads them to be more likely to be struggling than thriving in their lives overall Ė the opposite of the experience of employed mothers and women workers who donít have children at home.”

Covert’s explanation?† That the women in the lower income brackets aren’t willingly choosing to stay at home like those in the higher income levels.† Instead, they are being forced into the position — usually for economic reasons like inability to find a job that will pay more than the cost of putting a child into daycare.

Economic stress is one of the key reasons for fighting in marriages, would it be much of a shock that it could lead to depression in women, too?† And although both women at home and women in the workplace in the lower income levels are likely to be having money issues, those who are working outside the home can at least feel as though they have some modicum of control over the finances.† For the stay at home mom?† Not so much.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


.3 years ago

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Kenneth L.
Kenneth L6 years ago

(got cut off below):

"More and more problems have been redefined as ‘disorders’ or ‘illnesses,’ supposedly caused by genetic predispositions and biochemical imbalances" Dr. John Read, Psychologist

"These entirely bogus junk science pseudo-scientific labels (psychiatric disorders) are a barcode on the forehead of a child, and once the label gets in their record, it sticks."
"They have taken entirely normal children and made patients out of them by diagnosing them with fictional chemical imbalances of the brain. It's a total fraud." Dr. Fred Baughman, Neurologist

Kenneth L.
Kenneth L6 years ago

"Psychiatry is a mess! A MESS!!! I am a practicing clinical psychiatrist. I've been seeing patients for 26 years. And while I enjoyed the work at first, and had respect for my chosen profession, I now find myself feeling ashamed to be a part of what I believe has turned into a money-hungry scam, foisted on an unsuspecting and vulnerable consumer public" Dr. Philip Sinaikin, Psychiatrist

"I read somewhere that 45% of us (Americans) are mentally ill, or they have a label of mental illness..That's the psychiatric industry and the pharmaceutical industry that fosters this labelling. Doctors have to put a label on something in order to get paid by insurance. They have a mental illness label. That's scandolous. Dr. Gary Kohls, M.D.

(Regarding psychiatry) "There is no reliability of diagnosis or science, it's just pseudo-science, it's pretend science" Dr. Margaret Hagen, professor of Psychology

"...although ideas like the serotonin theory of depression have been widely publicised, scientific research has not detected any reliable abnormalities of the serotonin system in people who are depressed" Dr. Joanna Moncrief, Psychiatrist

"Chemical imbalance is a term that is used as a marketing ploy, as opposed to anything that there is scientific evidence to support" John Sommers-Flanagan, Professor of Counsellor Education, University of Montana

"More and more problems have been redefined as ‘disorders’ or ‘illnesses,’ supposedly caused by genetic



Shel G.
Shel G7 years ago

Doesn't this suggest that you shouldn't have kids unless or until you are in the right circumstances to do so? Sorry to sound harsh, but I get tired of hearing about how difficult parenting is for people who aren't in stable jobs or relationships. Get your life together first, then think about having kids. I realize just how difficult that often is, but being a parent is a massive responsibility and undertaking. The problems in your life (bad job or no job at all, unsupportive partner, etc.) are not going to be resolved by having kids - they are going to be much worse.

Carl Oerke
Carl O7 years ago

Does being a go to work employee lead to depression? Absolutely. Working harder and harder with less staff and resources, a diminishing salary, more pressure from amanagement to do more with less and an unmotivated work force who feel the American dream is slipping away and don't give a damn anymore. Frankly, I think staying at home might be a treat.

RobynRobyn Brice
Robyn Vorsa7 years ago

I am so sick of this us vs them mentality. I have been both a stay at home mum and a working mum and I have enjoyed being both. When I was at home with my kids, money was tight but we were genuinely happy. I can understand stress when bills come in and things like that, but it seems that if you stay at home with your kids, you are sad and frustrated and unfulfilled. If you go to work, then your kids suffer because they don't have their mother at home so therefore she is selfish. I noticed dads don't seem to come into this. Why is it that is the mother that's constantly under scrutiny?

Sandra L.
Sandra L7 years ago

Ranjeet T, to be clear, stay at home mons are not resposible for this study or its findings. I feel that as parents we are all on the same side and should stand together for the welfare of our children.

Ranjeet Tate
Ranjeet Tate7 years ago

Is there any reason the above article couldn't have been titled "stay-at-home PARENTS ... "?
All of the above applies to stay-at-home DADs as well! And then some - because you, yes YOU stay-at-home moms aren't quite as welcoming.

Barbra D.
Barbra D.7 years ago

Let's be scientific here. Some people have the mental illness clinical depression, that never goes away. It doesn't take much stress to bring it on. But anyone can become depressed by being placed in a stressful situation. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, brought on by stress. We have all kinds of people commenting here, from different economic and social backgrounds. What matters here is the individual stress level, or what any individual can personally bear. We are all different. Is being involved with nothing but small children all day stressful? Yes it is. Some people have a higher tolerance than others to this kind of stress. They were born that way. So let's not be mean to those people who are not as emotionally strong. As for you people who are putting down those less emotionally strong, I feel sorry for your kids. I think THEY'RE living in a depressing environment.