Women's participation in the labor force has increased in Singapore in the recent years. Research has suggested that women's attempt to relate their traditional roles as wife and mother with the expectations of their modern role as a paid employee may have an impact on their mental health. Data from a cross-sectional national probability sample of 284 employed mothers in Singapore were used to investigate the relationships between work hours, marital satisfaction, child relationship satisfaction, work-family harmony, and mental health. Based on the results of the Structural Equation Model, mothers who worked long hours experienced more positive mental health. This is perhaps attributable to paid work being considered as a means by which women can contribute to the family's welfare and well-being, instead of competing with one's finite resources. Results of the mediation analysis suggested that marital satisfaction had a positive, albeit small, effect on mental health through work-family harmony. This renders support to the family stress model theory, suggesting that for Asian women who actively participate in the work force, family relationships play an important role on their work-life experience, which ultimately has a significant impact on their mental health. Recognizing the unique cultural meanings Asian societies ascribe to work and family can facilitate a better understanding of Asian women's work-family experience.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Marriage, Family, and Human Development



Date Submitted


Document Type





work-family harmony, mental health, marital satisfaction, Asian women