First Advisor

Julie Rosenweig

Term of Graduation

Spring 2009

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work and Social Research




Dependents -- Care, Work and family, Work environment



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, x, 228 pages)


Exceptional care responsibilities describe the experiences of caring for a dependent with a chronic illness or disability (Roundtree & Lynch, 2006). To date research on exceptional care responsibilities has occurred outside of the traditional work-life field. This study positions exceptional care responsibilities as a type of dependent care that goes beyond that of typical care responsibilities and argues efforts are needed both within the workplace and the community to address the challenges faced by employees with disability-related dependent care responsibilities.

The influence of supports within the workplace on the work-life barriers and related outcomes of employees with typical care and exceptional care responsibilities was examined through a secondary analysis of the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce (NCSW; Families and Work Institute, 2004) using bivariate and multivariate techniques to identify significant predictors. Once the significant predictors were identified subsequent models were developed and tested for measurement and structural equivalence using multiple-group structural equation modeling techniques.

A sub-sample of data from wage and salaried workers who acted as parents of children under the age of 18 years of age was analyzed (« = 1,902). Fifty one percent were female, 76% were legally married or living with a partner. Seventy four percent of the sample of parents were white, 11% were African American, 9% were Hispanic/Latino and 4% were of other ethnicities. The median child age of the youngest child among all caregivers was 9 years. Approximately, 10% of the parents in the sample had exceptional care responsibilities (n = 196), defined as having care responsibilities for a dependent (child, adult or older adult) with a disability or chronic condition.

Key findings suggest that different types of disability-related dependent care can be conceptualized as a single construct, exceptional care. The results of the multiple groups structural equation models suggest that the work supports and barriers exert varying degrees of influence on family and life satisfaction, satisfaction with work, and stress that are different compared to employees with typical care responsibilities. Implications for measurement in work-life research, and policy that supports flexibility within the workplace and the community are discussed.


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