Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Teachers' Occupation-Specific Work-Family Conflict

Academic journal article Career Development Quarterly

Teachers' Occupation-Specific Work-Family Conflict

Article excerpt

To expand work-family conflict (WFC) research to specific occupations, this study investigated how work and family generic and occupation-specific stressors and support variables related to family interfering with work (F [arrow right] W) and work interfering with family (W [arrow right] F) among 230 Israeli high school teachers. Further expanding WFC research, the authors assessed WFC effects on burnout and vigor. Results indicated that W [arrow right] F conflict was related to generic variables and more so to distinctive teaching characteristics (e.g., investment in student behavior and parent-teacher relations). Both W [arrow right] F and F [arrow right] W predicted burnout, whereas only F [arrow right] W predicted vigor. Implications for WFC research and occupational health programs are discussed.

Profound changes in the world of work in recent decades, such as rising numbers of women in career trajectories, have stimulated much research on work-family conflict (WFC) (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000). WFC is a form of interrole conflict comprising incompatible pressures from work and family roles (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). Results of this research have repeatedly demonstrated the negative effects ofWFC on employees' behavior, emotions, and health (see Frone, 2003) and have underscored the importance of reducing the conflict.

Most research on WFC antecedents and outcomes use generic models to study managerial and demanding occupations (Cinamon & Rich, 2005). These models usually focus on the association between WFC and certain work stressors, assuming that such general stressors affect a wide variety of occupations similarly. However, these models often disregard distinctive aspects of particular occupations that may also affect WFC. Moreover, recent evidence demonstrates that certain occupations have unique role stressors that contribute to employees' stress (Bacharach & Bamberger, 1992; Narayanan, Menon, & Spector, 1999; Pousette & Hanse, 2002; Van Der Doef & Macs, 2002 ). Assessment of effects of unique stressors on WFC in specific occupations, in addition to effects of general occupational stressors, should provide a richer and more comprehensive picture of WFC antecedents. This approach may also enable developers of occupational health programs to focus on those elements proven effective in combating specific stressors in particular occupations.

Extending WFC research to specific occupations, this study investigated WFC among teachers, a profession largely overlooked by WFC researchers To illustrate the benefits of occupation-specific WFC research, we examined variables unique to teaching in addition to generic, universal variables often examined in WFC research. Although we were primarily interested in general and occupation-specific stressors' effects on WFC, the lack of research on teachers' work-family relations also stimulated analysis of two important outcomes of teachers' WFC: burnout and vigor.

Antecedents of WFC

Much research has explored antecedents of two types of WFC: when work is perceived as interfering with family (W [arrow right] F) and when family is perceived as interfering with work (F [arrow right] W). Most results indicate that stressors from work more heavily influence W [arrow right] F conflict, whereas family stressors more heavily influence F [arrow right] W conflict. Many researchers have investigated role characteristics that presumably produce role-related stress that diminishes one's capacity to meet demands of other roles (see Frone, 2003). Several studies found that W [arrow right] F conflict relates positively to number of hours employees devote to work (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000) and negatively to flexible schedules and managerial support (Bernas & Major, 2000).

Some stressors contributing to WFC may be common to most occupations, but the effects of stressors within different occupations will probably vary as a function of job and setting characteristics ( Naraynan et al. …

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