Working mothers do not suffer more burn-out

About one in ten working women in the Netherlands suffered from burn-out symptoms in 2004.  Single women and women who worked more hours were more likely to suffer these symptoms. The combination of a job, housework and childcare does not increase the risk of burn-out.

Longer working hours: more burn-out

An average 10 percent of Dutch working women suffered burn-out symptoms in the period 1997–2004. This percentage remained stable throughout this period. 
Women who work for 12–19 hours a week were least likely to experience burn-out symptoms: 5 percent. This rose to 10 percent for women with a job of 20–34 hours a week and 12 percent for women working full-time.

Women with burn-out symptoms, 1997/2004

Women with burn-out symptoms, 1997/2004

Single women particularly vulnerable

With 16 percent, single women were most likely to suffer from burn-out. Women in a household with underage children suffered slightly less often (8 percent) than women in multi-person households without underage children.

Housework has no effect on burnout

Working women who spent relatively many hours on household chores were about just as likely to suffer from burn-out as women who spent less time on housework. Apparently the time spent on household tasks does not correlate with the risk of burn-out.

Risk factors for burn-out

There are small differences in the prevalence of burn-out symptoms by age. The percentage of women with these symptoms was lowest among 25–34 year-olds (9 percent). Working hours have a greater effect. For women who worked 20 hours or more the risk was more than twice as high as for women who worked for 12–19 hours a week.
After corrections for age and working hours, the risk of women with underage children suffering from burn-out was nearly the same as for women in a multi-person household without underage children. For single working women, the risk was nearly twice as high; living together seems to reduce the risk of suffering from burn-out. 

Risk of burn-out for working women, corrected for age, 1997/2004

Risk of burn-out for working women, corrected for age, 1997/2004

Hendrika Lautenbach