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The relationship between work-family conflict and central life interests amongst single working mothers

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Author(s): Taryn Wallis | Linda Price

Journal: South African Journal of Industrial Psychology
ISSN 0258-5200

Volume: 29;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2003;
Original page

Keywords: Work-family conflict | Central life interests | Single working mothers

ABSTRACT
This study explored the experiences of work-family conflict amongst a group of twenty single working mothers with pre-school age children. Dubin’s (1992) theory of Central Life Interests was utilised to fully understand how the differential importance of the roles played by the women informed the level and nature of the conflict experienced. A two-phase research design was employed in which questionnaire responses from the first phase formed the basis for the second phase of in-depth qualitative interviews. Results indicated that participants viewed motherhood as their Central Life Interest and that this priority could lead them to experience greater conflict between work and family demands. Although work was rated second in importance when compared to family, it was still seen as being of great significance, not only for instrumental reasons, but also for the intellectual stimulation that it provided and opportunities to exercise independence and responsibility. Opsomming Die werk-en-familie konflik-ervarings van twintig werkende enkel-moeders met voorskoolse kinders is ondersoek in hierdie projek. Dubin (1992) se teorie van sentrale lewensbelangstellings is gebruik om te bepaal hoe die belangrikheid van die twee rolle die vlak en aard van die konflik bepaal het. Die navorsing is in twee fases gedoen: ‘n vraelys in die eerste fase, opgevolg deur in-diepte kwalitatiewe onderhoude. Resultate het gewys dat die deelnemers moederskap as hul sentrale lewensbelangstelling beskou het, en dat hierdie prioriteit kon lei tot groter konflik tussen die eise van werk en familie. Alhoewel werk as ondergeskik aan familie beoordeel is, was dit nogtans van groot belang. Aan die een kant was dit vir instrumentele redes, maar dit het ook intellektuele stimulasie verskaf en geleenthede gegee om onafhanklik en verantwoordelik op te tree.

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