Psychology Science Minute — 04 February 2013
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#41-Solutions to Work/ Family Conflict

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Based on Research by Laurent M. Lapierre, Ph.D. and Tammy D. Allen, Ph.D. Psychology Science Minute written by Yumiko Mochinushi, M.H.R.I.R. and Erin Richard, Ph. D.

Do work demands prevent quality time with your children or spouse? How do family crises impact your work?  These pressures of family and or work are identified as “work-family conflict.” High workloads take time and drain our energy, as well as create interfering anxiety and tension, making it difficult to fulfill our responsibilities at home or work.

Conflict between work and family may impact our physical and mental health, lead to decreased performance or increased absenteeism and turnover.  So what is the best way to handle these conflicts? How about working at home? That does not seem to be the best solution since Dr. Laurent Lapierre’s study concluded that telework increased the work-family conflict, especially for those with many home responsibilities. So in those cases it is beneficial to separate work from home.

Dr. Lapierre then compared the effectiveness of practical family support, like reducing home duties, with emotional support such as a family member or supervisor giving encouragement and understanding. Both types of support helped reduce work-family conflict. While practical support was more effective in reducing conflict, emotional support enhanced the physical well being of those experiencing stress.

So when your partner is under stress, be understanding. Arrange to do some of their home responsibilities and give them your full love and encouragement.

Reference:

Lapierre, L.M. & Allen, T.D. (2006). Work-Supportive Family, Family-Supportive Supervision, Use of Organizational Benefits, and Problem-Focused Coping: Implications for Work–Family Conflict and Employee Well-Being. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 11, 2, 169–181.

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