Local News

Research Shows Working Moms Are Burning Out

Posted July 23, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A new study proves what many already suspected. Researchers at Duke University say working mothers are more stressed than other working women and it's affecting their health.

Some of the health problems are mild, others are more serious. While, this is bad news for working mothers, there is some good news. The stress can be controlled.

You could say Kerrie Hillman has two jobs. She's a financial analyst and a mother to 4-year-old Isabel and 8-month-old Isaac.

The new study shows stress hormone levels are higher in working mothers than in working women with no children. Dr. Redford Williams says such stress can lead to other health problems.

Williams says the study shows working moms produce more of the stress hormone cortisol.

Dr. Williams suggests eating right and exercising to help reduce stress. Also, find ways to cope with your stress, and create a support network that can help solve child care problems.

For Kerrie Hillman, having her two children in a day care program she trusts helps relieve some of the stress. And, she says, she remembers what's important.

The study also shows a woman's stress level does not increase with more children. It only takes one child to make the hormone jump. Surprisingly, family income is not a factor, and neither is marital status. Working Womanmagazine has identified a hundred companies that are working mother-friendly. The top companies with headquarters in North Carolina include theSAS Institute,GlaxoWellcome, First Unionand NationsBank.

Other large companies in North Carolina that are identified as working mother-friendly includeIBM, Sara Lee (Sara Lee will have a website later this summer at www.saralee.com), Marriott, andJohnson and Johnson.