Academic journal article Family Relations

Work and Well-Being in the Two-Person Career: Relocation Stress and Coping among Clergy Husbands and Wives

Academic journal article Family Relations

Work and Well-Being in the Two-Person Career: Relocation Stress and Coping among Clergy Husbands and Wives

Article excerpt

Geographical relocation affects as many as 20% of Americans every year (Hazler & Nass, 1988). More than half of these residential changes are work related (Employee Transfer Corporation, 1982). Considerable research has focused on the impact of geographic mobility on family members' well-being, including their physical health, work effectiveness and satisfaction, and the quality of their marital and family relationships. The results of these studies have been inconclusive, however, with some suggesting few negative effects associated with relocation (e.g., Brett, 1982; Marchant & Medway, 1987; McKain, 1973; Pihl & Caron, 1980), and others citing severe strain as a consequence of relocation (e.g., Ammons, Nelson, & Wodarski, 1982; Barrett & Noble, 1973; Brett, 1982; Gaylord & Symons, 1986; Marshall & Cooper, 1979; Pedersen & Sullivan, 1964; Watson, 1990). Very little research effort has been directed at attempts to identify factors associated with successful adaptation to relocation, and few studies have compared the well-being of relocators with that of similar nonrelocators.

The few studies that have compared relocators and nonrelocators have failed to find significant differences between these groups in terms of personality (Pihl & Caron, 1980) or work satisfaction (Brett, 1982), but have suggested that gender may be an important factor in adjustment to relocation. Because geographic moves are most often initiated to further men's careers, husbands tend to evaluate relocation experiences more favorably than their wives do. The majority of relocated male executives in one study, for instance, regarded their job-related transfers as useful for themselves as well as their employers. The greater their career aspirations, the more favorably they evaluated their moves (Glueck, 1974). Wives of men who were transferred for job-related reasons, on the other hand, exhibited high levels of depression and experienced boredom; loneliness; and feelings of loss, sadness, and vulnerability (Ammons et al., 1982; Gaylord, 1979; Glueck, 1974; Levin, Groves, & Lurie, 1980; Weissman & Paykel, 1972).

In this paper, we use a family stress model to identify factors that are associated with successful adaptation to frequent involuntary relocation. The Double ABCX model of coping and adaptation (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983) proposes that adaptation to crises such as relocation depends on the "pile-up of demands" preceding and following the crisis, available coping resources, and perceptions of the ability to cope with the stresses associated with the event. The use of this model, which is described in more detail in the following section, may also allow a more complete understanding of the ways in which women and men respond differently to the stressors associated with relocation demanded by husbands' employers. We extend the existing literature by focusing on the ministry, an occupation that demands frequent relocation but which has rarely been studied in this regard. Most relocation research has focused on business executives (Ammons et al., 1982; Anderson & Stark, 1988; Boss, McCubbin, & Lester, 1979; Carruthers & Pinder, 1983; Marshall & Cooper, 1979) and military populations Marchant & Medway, 1987; McCubbin & Lavee, 1986; McKain, 1973). Religious professionals provide a unique opportunity for applying the Double ABCX model. Their strong religious beliefs, sense of being called to the ministry, extensive collegial support networks, and job-related experience and training in counseling may be effectively subsumed by the various components of the model, particularly "perceptions" and "coping." Moreover, the structuring of this profession as a two-person career that involves extensive commitment on the part of wives has implications for women's well-being that may operate through the pile-up of demands.

FRAMEWORK

The Double ABCX model (McCubbin & Patterson, 1982, 1983) is an extension of Hill's (1949) original ABCX model of family stress. …

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