Bringing Work Home: Gender and Parenting Correlates of Work-Family Guilt among Parents of Toddlers
- 784 Downloads
Anecdotal evidence abounds suggesting that as compared to fathers, mothers report greater guilt regarding the negative impact of work on family (WIF-guilt), yet shockingly few quantitative studies have evaluated gender differences or correlates of WIF-guilt. In five studies, we provide an in-depth exploration of parents’ feelings of guilt regarding perceived negative impacts on their children that arise from addressing work over familial responsibilities. We accomplish the following: (1) examine the validity of a novel self-report questionnaire of WIF-guilt (Work-Interfering-With-Family Guilt Scale [WIFGS]), (2) assess gender differences in WIF-guilt in parents of young children (ages 1–3), as well as whether these differences are moderated by WIF-conflict and work demand (number of hours worked), and (3) examine whether higher WIF-guilt predicts more permissive parenting. WIFGS scores were predictably associated with related psychological constructs. Mothers reported significantly higher levels of WIF-guilt than fathers. These effects were enhanced among mothers with high WIF-conflict and a high number of working hours. Consistent with anecdotal accounts and theory, WIF-guilt was associated with higher parenting permissiveness. Results provide directions for additional research on parents’ emotional experiences.
KeywordsWork-family guilt Work-family conflict Parenting Toddlers Emotion
J.B. designed the study, conducted the analyses, and wrote the paper; S.K.N. designed the study, contributed to analyses and writing; L.R. designed the study, executed the study, contributed to analyses and writing; S.B. helped with study design, collaborated with writing; C.M.R. provided guidance regarding study design and writing.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study prior to the commencement of their participation.
- Bianchi, S. M., Robinson, J. P., & Milkie, M. A. (2006). Changing rhythms of American family life. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Borelli, J.L., Burkhart, M., Rasmussen, H.F., Brody, R., & Sbarra, D.A. (2017). Secure base scripts explain the association between attachment avoidance and emotion-related constructs in parents of young children. Infant Mental Health Journal. doi: 10.1002/imhj.21632.
- Borelli, J. L., Nelson-Coffey, S. K., & River, L. M. (2014a). The work-interfering-with-family guilt scale. Claremont, CA: Pomona College. Unpublished document.Google Scholar
- Borelli, J. L., Nelson, S. K., & River, L. M. (2014b). Pomona work and family assessment. Claremont, CA: Pomona College. Unpublished document.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf.
- Hayghe, H. (1990). Family members in the work force. Monthly Labor Review, 113(3), 14–19.Google Scholar
- Hochschild, A. R., & Machung, A. (1989). The second shift: Working parents and the revolution at home. New York, NY: Viking.Google Scholar
- Mickelson, K. D., Chong, A., & Don, B. (2013). To thine own self be true: Impact of gender role and attitude mismatch on new mothers’ mental health. In J. Marich (Ed.). Psychology of women: diverse perspectives from the modern world (pp. 1–16). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.Google Scholar
- Nelson, S. K., Layous, K., Cole, S. W., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2017). Are fathers (but not mothers) happier than their childless peers? Gender moderates the association between parenthood, psychological need satisfaction, and stress. Manuscript under review.Google Scholar
- Pennebaker, J. W., Francis, M. E., & Booth, R. J. (2001). Linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC): LIWC2001. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- Rosenthal, R., & Rosnow, R. L. (2008). Essentials of behavioral research: Methods and data analysis. 3rd edn. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Sibley, C. G., Fischer, R., & Liu, J. H. (2005). Reliability and validity of the revised experiences in close relationships (ECR-R) self-report measure of adult romantic attachment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(11), 1524–1536. doi: 10.1177/0146167205276865.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tangney, J. P. (2003). Self-relevant emotions. In M. R. Leary, J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 384–400). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Watson, D., & Clark, L.A. (1994). The PANAS-X: Manual for the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule-Expanded Form. Unpublished manuscript, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.Google Scholar