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Sex Roles

, Volume 72, Issue 11–12, pp 547–557 | Cite as

Planning to Have It All: Emerging Adults’ Expectations of Future Work-Family Conflict

  • Emily F. Coyle
  • Elizabeth Van Leer
  • Kingsley M. Schroeder
  • Megan Fulcher
Original Article

Abstract

This study assessed college students’ anticipated work-family conflict (family-impacting-work and work-impacting-family), and the family-altering and work-altering strategies they plan to employ to relieve that conflict. Undergraduates (N = 121) from two universities in the southeastern U.S. were surveyed and differences between the genders were tested. There were no significant gender differences in total conflict, but women anticipated more family-impacting-work conflict, while men anticipated greater work-impacting family conflict. Women planned to employ conflict-relieving strategies more than men did, although the genders did not differ in the mean amount of conflict they anticipated. The type of conflict anticipated did not align with planning for the appropriate conflict-relieving strategy. Women varied in their employment plans while their children are too young for school, although most planned to have their first child by age 30, and to return to a highly prestigious career. Results indicate that emerging adults of both genders may not be realistically planning for their anticipated work-family conflict.

Keywords

Gender Work-family conflict Work role Family role Emerging adulthood 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship program, which supported the first author’s graduate study during manuscript preparation (Grant No. DGE1255832). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We additionally gratefully acknowledge support from the Lenfest Grant, which supports the fourth author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The research reported on in the manuscript, “Planning to Have It All: Emerging Adults’ Expectations of Future Work-Family Conflict” complies with ethical standards for research as directed by the American Psychological Association. The project was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Washington and Lee University. Participants gave written informed consent before participating in data collection.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily F. Coyle
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Van Leer
    • 2
  • Kingsley M. Schroeder
    • 1
  • Megan Fulcher
    • 3
  1. 1.The Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Washington and Lee UniversityLexingtonUSA

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