Monday, 1 November 2010

Family vs. Workplace Stress: Is Stress Gender Related?

by Michael R. Frone, Ph.D., Marcia Russell, Ph.D.
& Grace M. Barnes, Ph.D.

Job Vacancies, Employment, Employment Jobs

Does Gender Matter?

Parents of both gender struggle with bringing family concerns to work and work concerns home. According to the research study described below, there seems to be no significant gender differences between parents on both workplace and family stress.

Gender of the parent has virtually no bearing on how parents physically or psychologically respond to situations wherein work interferes with family life (W-F) or family life interferes with work (F-W). This report shows that, contrary to popular corporate, and often societal belief, the management of the work-family interface is not a women's issue. Rather, it is an issue that impacts all working parents, regardless of gender.

Practical implications of this study include the conclusion that employers should consider that family conflict is a significant source of stress in the lives of both employed mothers and fathers. Prior research by the authors and other researchers indicates that employees are better at managing the potentially disrupting family stress at work than they are at managing workplace stress at home.

Mitigating Family-Work Stress

To date, strategies implemented to date by employers have sought to mitigate the impact of F-W conflict, with an eye toward improving employee productivity while on the job, and have paid less attention to how work might be negatively affecting the employee's family life.

The authors point out, however, that merely developing strategies and programs to reduce either type of work-family conflict is not enough. Employees (and, by extension, their employers) would be better served if the employers fostered a corporate culture in which the employees felt comfortable taking advantage of available resources.

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