The relationship between specified factors and role strain in employed mothers
Hemmelgarn, Brenda Rose
One of the most dramatic changes in the past decade has been the increased participation of mothers of young children in the labor force. The issue of balancing employment and motherhood is a particularly salient one for these women, and one which needs to be addressed and explored in greater detail. The purpose of this study was to further pursue the area of women's multiple role combination further, and specifically to examine the relationship between various specified factors and the role strain experienced by women returning to work following the birth of their first child. Ten variables were identified from the literature as influencing a woman's ability to combine both employment outside the home and a family. A descriptive survey design was used to obtain the data relating to the selected variables as well as to measure role strain. The variables were measured with both previously developed and tested instruments, as well as questions formulated by the researcher. The sample consisted of women, either married or living with a partner, who had returned to employment outside the home following the birth of their first child. The names of potential participants were obtained from the files of the Saskatoon Community Health Unit. These potential participants were telephoned in order to obtain their confirmation prior to sending them a questionnaire. The positive response rate from the survey (94.17%, n=113), as well as the additional hand written comments provided by some of the participants, indicated that women are indeed interested in and concerned about this subject. Results of the study indicated that maternal identity, or the confidence and comfort a women experiences within the maternal role, was the most strongly correlated to, and the best predictor of role strain. A higher degree of maternal identity correlated with a lower level of role strain. Other findings revealed that women who were satisfied with their job and were satisfied with their childcare arrangements also experienced a lower level of role strain. As may be expected, women who worked part time or casual had a lower level of role strain than the women who were employed full time.