Lead author Cheryl Buehler of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and colleagues analyzed data from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.
The data involved interviews of 1,364 mothers shortly after their child's birth beginning in 1990 and included subsequent interviews and observations spanning 10 years.
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, found mothers employed part-time reported better overall health and fewer symptoms of depression than stay-at-home moms, while there were no reported differences in general health or depressive symptoms between moms employed part time and those who worked full time.
The part-time and full-time working moms showed no significant differences when it came to the perception that their employment supported family life, including their ability to be a better parent, the study said.
"In all cases with significant differences in maternal well-being, such as conflict between work and family or parenting, the comparison favored part-time work over full-time or not working," Buehler said in a statement. "However, in many cases the well-being of moms working part-time was no different from moms working full time."