Parents and family–work conflict
A joint research group in Lithuania has carried out a survey analysing parents’ needs for ensuring the welfare of their families. A special emphasis was placed on balancing work and family responsibilities and the problems related therein. The survey found that family–work conflict was strong for 16% of the parents interviewed. Women more often experienced greater pressure than men in juggling work and family responsibilities.
About the survey
At the request of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministerija, SADM), a joint research group conducted a survey in 2008 analysing parents’ needs for ensuring the welfare of their families. The methodology used was a representative survey of households with children under 18 years of age, which was carried out by the public opinion and market research company Spinter Tyrimai (Spinter). In the survey, some 1,002 respondents were interviewed in different regions of the country; 71.6% were women and 28.4% were men. A multi-stage stratified random sampling was used for the selection of the respondents.
The survey placed a special emphasis on the issue of balancing work and family responsibilities, and the problems related therein. The findings cited in this overview refer only to the employed respondents, who accounted for 81% of the total respondents (808 respondents).
According to the survey, most of the respondents (88% of women and 76% of men) worked under employment contracts. Men were mainly employed as skilled workers (38% of men), medium-level professionals such as assistants or technical workers (19%), or highest-level professionals (18%). Most of the female respondents were employed as highest-level professionals (25% of women), medium-level professionals (23%) or white-collar workers (18%).
Some 41% of the women and 23% of the men were employed in the public sector; the remainder of the respondents (59% of women and 77% of men) were working in the private sector. The respondents’ total number of average working hours a week was 39.72 hours (39.69 hours for women and 39.76 hours for men).
Main findings of survey
Difficulties in reconciling work and family life
A total of eight statements were developed to identify signs of work–family conflict and were used as a basis to measure difficulties faced in reconciling work and family life.
The survey revealed that family life suffers most of all from the juggling of work and family responsibilities. More than half of the respondents (56%) claimed that they often came home from work too tired to do necessary household chores (Table 1). Nearly half of the respondents (45%) indicated that they often face difficulties in performing family commitments because of spending too much time at work. Women experienced work–family conflict to a slightly higher extent than men, although the gender differences were not significant in statistical terms.
|I come home from work too tired to do necessary household chores||56||34||10|
|I have problems in performing family commitments because I spend too much time at work||45||42||13|
|I am not able to spend enough time with my child/children because of too much workload||46||39||15|
|I feel stress for not giving enough time to communicate with my children because of difficulties in reconciling childcare, household chores and work responsibilities||46||36||18|
|I feel bad because childcare, household chores and work responsibilities take up all of my time and no time is left for my personal life||40||40||20|
|Difficulties in reconciling childcare, household chores and work responsibilities lead to stress between me and my partner about sharing responsibilities for household chores and childcare in the family life||27||47||26|
|I am too tired due to childcare and household chores, so I am not able to do my work duties on a high-quality basis||22||48||30|
|I am not able to spend as much time in my work duties as I would like to because of childcare responsibilities||22||46||32|
Note: * ‘Always’ answers are combined with ‘often’ answers in the above table because of the low incidence of the former.
Source: Spinter, 2008
Intensity of work–family role conflict
A scale of conflict intensity was developed to analyse the reconciling of work–family roles and dependence on various social variables. Conflict intensity was categorised into three types –strong conflicts, medium intensity conflicts and mild conflicts.
The survey demonstrated that 16% of the respondents experienced strong work–family role conflict. Medium and mild intensity work–family role conflicts were experienced by 55% and 29% of the respondents respectively. Women more often reported stronger pressure than men in juggling their work and family responsibilities (Table 2).
|Type of intensity||Women||Men|
Source: Spinter, 2008
The survey also revealed that a probability of strong work–family conflict is highest in people with an incomplete secondary education. Moreover, this probability increases in line with the number of people in the household.
Rasa Zabarauskaite, Institute of Labour and Social Research