Self-reported Health among Lone Mothers in Switzerland: Do Employment and Education Matter ?

By Emanuela Struffolino, Laura Bernardi, Marieke Voorpostel

Lone mothers are more likely to be unemployed and in poverty, which are both factors associated with a risk of poor health. In Switzerland, weak work-family reconciliation policies and taxation that favours married couples adopting the traditional male breadwinner model translate into low labour market participation rate for mothers. In the case of lone mothers, employment can be associated with better health because it eases the potential economic hardship associated with being the sole earner. However, working can represent an additional stress factor due to lone mothers’ responsibility as the main caregiver. We investigate how family arrangements and employment status are associated with self-reported health in Switzerland. Our analyses on the Swiss Household Panel (waves 1999-2011) suggest that lone mothers who are out of the labour market have a higher probability of reporting poor health, especially those with an upper secondary level of education. Lone mothers reported being in better health when working full-time versus part-time, whereas the opposite applied to mothers living with a partner.


  • lone mothers
  • self-reported health
  • employment
  • education
  • working hours
  • life course
  • Switzerland
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