Date of Award

5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Bradley van Eeden-Moorefield

Committee Member

Miriam Linver

Committee Member

Soyoung Lee

Committee Member

Joseph Gryzwacz

Subject(s)

Working mothers--Family relationships--United States, Work and family, Work-life balance

Abstract

The current research consists of three studies evaluating the body of work–family conflict literature and examining work–family balance and work–family conflict experiences of working mothers in the United States. The first study addressed the research question: To what extent are voices of marginalized individuals and families recognized in work– family conflict studies? Content analysis was conducted of sixty-seven empirical articles containing 245 hypotheses/research questions in work–family conflict studies (1980– 2016). A conceptual framework, “The Ecology of Justice,” was developed to analyze data. Results indicated work–family conflict studies were less inclusive and less representative of underprivileged working individuals and families, but were theoretically grounded and methodologically strong. The second study used bioecological theory in a longitudinal examination of work–family balance among working mothers, asking the question: What is the role of positive work–family spillover in relationships between a nonstandard work schedule and work–family balance, and between relationship quality and work–family balance, and do these relationships differ based on education level, family-friendly workplace policies, and race? Path analysis was used on longitudinal data consisting of four time periods and 302 full-time working mothers with children age 4 to 9. Results showed the association between relationship quality and work–family balance was partially mediated by positive family–to–work spillover, and moderated by availability of family-friendly policies. The third study used bioecological theory to examine within- and between-person differences in work–family conflict experiences of working mothers, asking the question: Are there within- and between-person differences among working mothers in their work–to–family and family–to–work conflict experiences over time, and what factors account for these differences? Multilevel modeling was used on longitudinal data consisting of four time periods and containing 302 full-time working mothers with children age 4 to 9. Results illustrated significant within- and between-person variance in work–to–family and family–to–work conflict experiences of working mothers over time. Taken together, underprivileged working mothers face high levels of work–family conflict and struggle to maintain a healthy work–family balance, yet they remain under-represented in work–family literature.

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