University Of Cincinnati Sociologists Find Nearly Three-Fourths Of Working Parents Face Work-Family Conflicts

August 12, 1998

Almost three-quarters of Ohio working men and women have some trouble -- either occasionally, fairly often or very often -- managing work and family obligations, a statewide survey conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Kunz Center for the Study of Work and Family finds.

Both working moms and working dads are equally likely to experience work and family conflict because of their demanding jobs, UC's Survey of Ohio's Working Families shows. At least 71 percent of working men reported having difficulties managing work and family obligations occasionally, fairly often or very often; for women, the figure is 76 percent.

Included in these percentages are about one-quarter of working men and women reporting that they "very often" or "fairly often" found it "hard to manage work and family obligations. " About half of men and women experienced "occasional" conflict between work and family obligations.

"Most people think that women with young children experience the most conflict between work and family responsibilities, but our survey results show that men also desire to spend time with their families," said David J. Maume Jr., UC sociologist, Kunz Center director and author of the Ohio study.

"Moreover, concern about competing work and family demands does not diminish as education and income rises, or as children get older," Maume said. Perceptions of work and family conflict were the same for all levels of education, family income, spouse's employment status, and the age of children in the home.

According to the survey, the typical working parent in Ohio has a full-time job, with 56 percent of men (compared with 16 percent of women) working more than 48 hours per week. In addition a sizable minority of working parents (18 percent of men and 13 percent of women) said they worked more than one job, and about one-third worked during the weekend, a time typically reserved for family.

Related to work and family conflict was the desire to cut back on work hours: among full-time workers, 55 percent of men and two-thirds of women would like to work fewer hours.

"On the bright side, parents who control their work schedules report they are better able to strike a balance between work and family obligations," Maume said.

Most working parents in Ohio have some control over their work schedules, according to the survey. Over half of full-time working men and women "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with the statement, "I can control my work schedule." Moreover, the greater the control over work hours, the less conflict between work and family obligations (although the association is stronger among women than among men).

More than 500 Ohio residents responded to a survey the Kunz Center mailed to randomly selected parents in March 1998. The survey findings reported in this release exclude those who were unemployed, retired or keeping house. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.

The purpose of the Survey of Ohio's Working Families is to examine the many ways families deal with the problems of balancing work and family life, particularly in light of the dramatic changes in women's work and family roles in the last half century. More information about the Kunz Center and the survey can be obtained from the Kunz Center's web page at http://ucaswww.mcm.uc.edu/sociology/kunzctr/.
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University of Cincinnati

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