Employed Parents of Children with Typical and Exceptional Care Responsibilities: Family Demands and Workplace Supports

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Journal of Child and Family Studies

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Employed parents caring for their children with disabilities struggle to meet both work and family responsibilities and attain fit between their work and family lives. Employed workers who parent children with disabilities can experience high levels of stress as a result of their exceptional care demands. Few studies have examined how personal, family, and workplace characteristics influence conflict and stress among employed parents of children with disabilities. A secondary analysis of the 2016 National Study of the Changing Workforce addressed this need. Personal, family, and workplace characteristics of parents providing disability care were compared to those of employed parents providing typical family care. How these characteristics mitigate or exacerbate work and family conflict and stress was examined. Whether having exceptional care demands moderates workplace supports on employed parents’ work and family conflict and stress was also investigated. Results from this study found significant differences between the two groups on personal, family, and workplace characteristics as well as conflict (work-family conflict, family-work conflict) and stress. Regression models investigating personal, family, and workplace supports found that caring for a child with a disability is associated with higher levels of work-family conflict, family-work conflict, and stress. Exceptional care demands also moderated the effects of workplace supports on family-work conflict and stress. Implications for organizational practice suggest that building family supportive organizational cultures and targeted interventions might reduce both work-family conflict and stress for this group of workers.


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