Title

The influence of disability on paternal conflict between work and family

1

Location

Regency Room

Start Time

30-9-2016 3:00 PM

End Time

30-9-2016 4:30 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Conflict between work and family occurs when strain, demands for time, and behaviors from one domain interfere with another (Greenhaus and Beutell 1985). Multidisciplinary research has demonstrated a connection between work family conflict with mental and physical health, family satisfaction, and job satisfaction and effectiveness (Bellavia and Frone 2005). While work interfering with family conflicts is more likely to be caused by work factors, family interfering with work is more likely to be caused by personal factors (Shockley and Allen 2015). Although balancing the demands of work and family can be difficult for any parent, the responsibility of caring for a child with a disability has been identified as a personal factor that severely limit mothers’ ability to fulfill employment responsibilities, particularly when employers are inflexible (Green 2007). As men in our society become more involved with childcare, they also must make choices between family and work. Although men increasingly experience family work conflict, this subject has not been addressed from the perspectives of fathers’ of children with disabilities.

The purpose of this study is to examine experiences of work family conflict as described by fathers of children with disabilities.

Methods

Five fathers of children with disabilities were followed for over a year including interviews and observations of fathers participating with their children. The data was analyzed first thematically to identify common themes and then narratively by exploring the meaning storytellers ascribed to experiences while at the same time analyzing narratives within social and historical contexts.

Results

Fathers’ stories indicated that having a child with a disability resulted in family to work conflicts including changes in employment, being trapped in a specific job, and indirectly to the loss of employment. Although not specifically related to having a child with disabilities, work to family conflict included descriptions of not having enough time for family because of work. Strategies that men use in response to work family conflict include taking their children to work and adjusting their work hours.

Implications

Viewing the conflict between work and family from an occupational lens allows us to understand the complexities of decisions that individuals make that have not been previously addressed in this field. For occupational science, recognizing and examining work family conflict can give insight into some of the struggles that parents may encounter in achieving occupational balance.

Questions for discussion:

How does gender influence individuals ability to negotiate work family conflict?

What insights can be gained from studying work family conflict from a qualitative perspective?

How can occupational science contribute to the study of work family conflict?

Key words: work, family, disability, fathers

References

Bellavia, Gina M., and Michael R Frone. 2005. "Work-Family Conflict." In Handbook of Work Stress, edited by Michael R Frone, E. Kevin Kelloway and Julian Barling. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Green, Sara Eleanor. 2007. "“We’re tired, not sad”: Benefits and burdens of mothering a child with a disability." Social Science & Medicine 64 (1):150-163.

Greenhaus, Jeffrey H, and Nicholas J Beutell. 1985. "Sources of conflict between work and family roles." Academy of management review 10 (1):76-88.

Shockley, Kristen M, and Tammy D Allen. 2015. "Deciding between work and family: An episodic approach." Personnel Psychology 68 (2):283-318.

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Sep 30th, 3:00 PM Sep 30th, 4:30 PM

The influence of disability on paternal conflict between work and family

Regency Room

Conflict between work and family occurs when strain, demands for time, and behaviors from one domain interfere with another (Greenhaus and Beutell 1985). Multidisciplinary research has demonstrated a connection between work family conflict with mental and physical health, family satisfaction, and job satisfaction and effectiveness (Bellavia and Frone 2005). While work interfering with family conflicts is more likely to be caused by work factors, family interfering with work is more likely to be caused by personal factors (Shockley and Allen 2015). Although balancing the demands of work and family can be difficult for any parent, the responsibility of caring for a child with a disability has been identified as a personal factor that severely limit mothers’ ability to fulfill employment responsibilities, particularly when employers are inflexible (Green 2007). As men in our society become more involved with childcare, they also must make choices between family and work. Although men increasingly experience family work conflict, this subject has not been addressed from the perspectives of fathers’ of children with disabilities.

The purpose of this study is to examine experiences of work family conflict as described by fathers of children with disabilities.

Methods

Five fathers of children with disabilities were followed for over a year including interviews and observations of fathers participating with their children. The data was analyzed first thematically to identify common themes and then narratively by exploring the meaning storytellers ascribed to experiences while at the same time analyzing narratives within social and historical contexts.

Results

Fathers’ stories indicated that having a child with a disability resulted in family to work conflicts including changes in employment, being trapped in a specific job, and indirectly to the loss of employment. Although not specifically related to having a child with disabilities, work to family conflict included descriptions of not having enough time for family because of work. Strategies that men use in response to work family conflict include taking their children to work and adjusting their work hours.

Implications

Viewing the conflict between work and family from an occupational lens allows us to understand the complexities of decisions that individuals make that have not been previously addressed in this field. For occupational science, recognizing and examining work family conflict can give insight into some of the struggles that parents may encounter in achieving occupational balance.

Questions for discussion:

How does gender influence individuals ability to negotiate work family conflict?

What insights can be gained from studying work family conflict from a qualitative perspective?

How can occupational science contribute to the study of work family conflict?

Key words: work, family, disability, fathers