Alicia G. Dugan & Janet L. Barnes-Farrell (2020) Working mothers’ second shift, personal resources, and self-care, Community, Work & Family, 23:1, 62-79, DOI: 10.1080/13668803.2018.1449732

The stress of feeling rushed and busy are contemporary facts of life as evidenced by research on time pressure and overload. This is explained by conservation of resources theory which posits that when life demands (i.e. paid work, home/family work) excessively drain time and energy resources, stress can result. The purpose of this study was to examine working mothers as a population at risk for such stress, because in addition to paid work roles, most face a heavy second shift (i.e. home/family workload). Our path model tested hypothesized relationships pertaining to drained resources, opportunities for self-care and stress reduction, and well-being. Working mothers (440) completed web-based surveys and path analysis was used to fit the model. Findings showed mothers’ second shift was associated with fewer time and energy resources, and resource availability was associated with increased self-care behaviors and decreased stress. Self-care was associated with several well-being and work-related outcomes, and stress partially mediated some relationships between self-care and outcomes. Future research should further investigate the benefits of self-care for working mothers, including social and emotional forms of self-care, to develop and disseminate targeted interventions to improve their well-being.