First Advisor

Julie Rosenzweig

Term of Graduation

Spring 2007

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

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


Social Work




businesses (business enterprises), Adaptability (Psychology), Business -- Culture, Human capital -- United States



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vii, 109 pages)


Integration of family responsibilities and employment demands is challenging for all families, but particularly for those families with extraordinary care requirements of children with mental health disabilities. Utilization of workplace supports, such as flexible work arrangements, has been identified in the work-family literature as an important indicator of organizational responsiveness to employee's family needs (Allen, 2001; Eaton, 2003; Hammer, Neal, Newsom, Brockwood, & Colton, 2005; Secret, 2000). A better understanding of which organizational conditions may improve utilization of available family-friendly supports by employees caring for children with mental health disorders can improve work-life integration for these families. This study examines how factors such as workplace culture, and Human Resource (HR) policies and practices affect accessibility of supports in the workplace for workers with dependent care responsibilities.

The exploratory study uses a series of six regression models to identify organizational conditions indicative of a family-friendly workplace culture. Human resource professionals, organizations' primary gatekeepers of workplace policies and practices, were surveyed. The Work-Life Flexibility & Dependent Care Survey was completed by 550 members of WorldatWork, an international HR professional association with approximately 25,000 members. The typical respondent was female (76.9%), highly educated (38% of respondents reported that they had a master's degree), and worked in the U.S. (87%) in an organization with between 100 and 999 employees in manufacturing (16%), or finance and insurance (16%).

Key results of the study suggest that organizations with a formal policy on flexible work arrangements create an important pathway for availability and utilization of workplace supports. Workplace culture was identified as an important predictor of the likelihood that HR professionals would grant an employee's request for flexible work arrangements for dependent care needs, including those for mental health care reasons. The need for content on work and family to be incorporated within social work curriculum is discussed as well as implications for social work practitioners. Suggestions for HR organizational policy and practice and directions for future research are presented.


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