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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

SANTANA, Vilma S; LOOMIS, Dana P  and  NEWMAN, Beth. Housework, paid work and psychiatric symptoms. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2001, vol.35, n.1, pp. 16-22. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102001000100003.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the hypothesis that work burden, the simultaneous engagement in paid work and unpaid family housework, is a potential risk factor for psychiatric symptoms among women. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was carried out with 460 women randomly selected from a poor area of the city of Salvador, Brazil. Women between 18 to 70 years old, who reported having a paid occupation or were involved in unpaid domestic activities for their families, were eligible. Work burden-related variables were defined as: a) double work shift, i.e., simultaneous engagement in a paid job plus unpaid housework; and b) daily working time. Psychiatric symptoms were collected through a validated questionnaire, the QMPA. RESULTS: Positive, statistically significant associations between high (>7 symptoms) QMPA scores and either double work shift (prevalence ratio ¾ PR=2.04, 95% confidence interval ¾ CI: 1.16, 2.29) or more than 10 hours of daily work time (PR=2.29, 95% CI: 1.96, 3.43) were found after adjustment for age, marital status and number of pre-school children. CONCLUSIONS: Major correlates of high QMPA scores are work burden variables. Being married or having pre-school children are also associated with high QMPA scores only when associated with work burden.

Keywords : Workload [psychology]; Mental health; Women, working [psychology]; Work hours; Gender; Psychiatric symptoms.

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