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Work and family, Parents of children with disabilities, Children with disabilities -- Care


The Support for Working Caregivers Project is designed to study the ways in which employed parents whose children have emotional or behavioral disorders fit their work and family responsibilities together. To that end, project investigators have developed a research model of work-family fit by means of an exhaustive literature review of over 350 articles and books on work and family, the secondary data analysis of the North Carolina Family Caregiver Survey (Brennan & Poertner, 1997), and a focus group study with 41 employed parents of children with emotional or behavioral disorders (Rosenzweig, Brennan, & Ogilvie, 1998). The work-family fit research model includes as antecedent conditions (a) types and characteristics of parental employment, (b) types and characteristics of the children’s educational and child care arrangements, (c) the social support available to family members, and (d) family household characteristics. The outcomes featured in the model encompass (a) parent stress levels, (b) employment absenteeism, (c) work interuptions and tardiness, and (d) difficulty combining work and family life. The model also contains such intervening variables as the strategies parents use to balance work and family demands and the services they use. Currently, pilot interviews are being conducted with 60 family members who are employed at least 30 hours per week and who have children living in the home between the ages of 6 and 18 years who have emotional or behavioral disorders.


Originally appeared in K. J. Exo, L. J. Gordon, P. Jivanjee, & K. Blankenship (Eds.). Building on family strengths: Research and services in support of children and their families. 1999 conference proceedings. This article and others can be found at

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