I agree. I think a lot of the SAH/WOH does have to do with personality types. I'm also a WOHM and I cannot imagine it any other way. I just came back to work last week from 12wks of maternity leave and I was SO ready.
I crave intellectual stimulation and adult interaction and do not thrive when I feel like my sole job is mothering. I do best feeling as if I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend, an employee, etc. I need to feel valued for more than just my child rearing/raising capabilities. When I have these needs met, I am at my best and thus can do the best mothering.
I'm also very type-A and like to handle it all and have it all and be able to provide it all for my kiddos. I like to feel that DH and I are equal partners in our marriage and, personally, if I wasnt contributing financially, I know *I* would never feel like that, but obviously that varies from person to person.
So in a nutshell, yes, I think people's mental/emotional makeup has a lot to do with their choice...if they are able to choose whether to SAH or WOH and dont have to WOH out of necessity.
Very interesting question.
I would not split along SAHP/WOHP lines. I think there are people who are inflexible, and people who are flexible. People who are flexible can adapt to various situations, they might WOH if their family finances dictate it, or SAH if that seems to make more sense in the situation, and they can function mentally/emotionally in either environment. Inflexible people really need it to be one way, WOH or SAH, and coping with the alternative is a significant challenge. Individuals with serious mental/emotional problems probably tend to be more inflexible than flexible, but I'd bet we could find examples where people have serious disorders but can handle WOH and SAH equally badly. Of course there are people in between flexible and inflexible, and those people have a general preference for one or the other (WOH or SAH) but can do pretty darned well with the other option if they have to.
Your SAH-SM sounds like he had some significant issues coping with life in general. She needed a small world and to be a situation she didn't have to be counted on very much. That was her personality and level of personal dysfunction, and as such SAH suited her better. I don't think in any way that situation can be generalized to all SAHP, because most people don't have that level of inability to handle working. Lots of SAHP were once in the workforce and likely will be again one day.
Your co-troop leader sounds to me like the kind of person who was living her dream life, and had it ripped out from under her. She might be generally mentally and emotionally healthy, but that kind of blow to a person is going to take a lot out of them for possibly a good long time. However, it's probably more situational (as compared to your SAH-SM, who sounds like had more lasting problems).
Your friend who is the SAHD, sounds to me like he can function in either environment, but really doesn't like being pulled away from the family so prefers that. If he's in a position to choose it, then he will because it's going to give him the most satisfaction. But he probably functioned fine on a mental/emotional level when working.
So to answer your overall question - no I don't think there is a difference in overall mental/emotional functioning of SAHP vs. WOHP. I think there are differences among different people, and that differences do drive the choices an individual makes for themselves and their ability to cope when life hands them a dish they didn't order.
I think we have similar personalities.
I was a
*Praying for my best friend, my Dad*
I think she would have had a break down about her husband leaving if she had worked too. I'm not sure I see the logic here.
The breakdown was specifically about her going back to work, not having skills, etc.
I think that there are differences in how people handle stress some handle it very well and things kind of roll off, others do not.
I do not think that either SAHP or WOHP fall any higher in either category. Where the difference may come in in what stresses them.
I do think that people can learn to handle the stress of being in a situation they do not prefer (minus it being caused by medical issues). For that to happen I think they have to be pro-active in whatever they have to do make it less stressful.
I guess I left out something.
I do think that people can learn to handle the stress of being in a situation they do not prefer if they want to.
But it could be that she fell within the category in the part that you left out of my quote.
My original quote was:
"I do think that people can learn to handle the stress of being in a situation they do not prefer (minus it being caused by medical issues)."