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Emotional Support Makes the Difference: Work-Family Conflict and Employment Related Guilt Among Employed Mothers

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Abstract

In the present study we aimed to investigate the role of social support, particularly emotional support, on work-family conflict (WFC) and employment-related guilt among employed mothers. Achieving an optimal work-family balance is difficult, especially for employed mothers with young children. Previous research has found support to be a key factor in helping to alleviate conflict. However, determining which types of support are most beneficial is an important issue to be investigated. Using path analysis, we examined the effect of three sources of social support—emotional spousal support, emotional supervisory support, and instrumental spousal support—on WFC and employment-related guilt. Voluntary domestic support, paid domestic support, and number of children were control variables. Data were collected from 201 employed Turkish mothers who have at least one child below the age of 10. Participants were between 25 and 47 years-old (M = 33.6, SD = 4.4). Spousal and supervisory emotional support were significant predictors of WFC for employed mothers. Moreover, supervisory support was a significant predictor of employment-related guilt. Implications of the results are discussed with reference to cultural context, and recommendations are provided for professionals in the field.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the editor and the two reviewers for their valueable comments on the previous version of the manuscript. They also thank Katie Peterson for her professional assistance with proofreading.

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Correspondence to Doruk Uysal Irak.

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Authors confirmed that there are no conflicts of interest. No external funding was used to support this project. Prior to data collection, approval from the Institutional Review Board at Bahcesehir University was taken. All participants provided informed consent prior to participating in the study. Participation was unpaid and voluntary bases.

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Uysal Irak, D., Kalkışım, K. & Yıldırım, M. Emotional Support Makes the Difference: Work-Family Conflict and Employment Related Guilt Among Employed Mothers. Sex Roles 82, 53–65 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-019-01035-x

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Keywords

  • Emotional support
  • Work-family conflict
  • Working mother
  • Supervisory support