Women’s Work-Family Histories and Cognitive Performance across Welfare State Contexts
Sarah Burgard1, Karra Greenberg1, Erin Ice1, Shannon Ang1
1University of Michigan

This study investigates the relationship between women’s work-family life histories and cognitive functioning in later life, with a focus on whether welfare state context moderates the association. Analyses were based on data from women in 15 European countries born between 1908 and 1957 from the Survey of Health, Aging, and Retirement in Europe (2004-9) (n=13,715). Multichannel sequence analysis identified five work-family typologies based on women’s work, partnership, and childrearing statuses between ages 12 and 50. Initial findings show that full time working mothers have higher predicted cognitive scores in Social Democratic countries than in all other welfare state groups. Part time working (married) mothers also show considerable variation across welfare state groups, with higher values in Conservative, Social Democratic, Liberal and Conservative countries than in Former Communist countries, and considerably lower values in Mediterranean countries. The pattern is similar, but more muted for women in other working life course types.