This study examines the determinants of work–family multitasking using data from two large national surveys of workers—the 2011 Canadian Work, Stress, and Health Study and the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce. We find that the following groups—in both surveys—engage in frequent multitasking: (1) individuals with higher education and income; (2) executives and professionals, business owners, the self-employed, and supervisors; (3) those who work at home or some place other than away from home at a fixed location; and (4) those who work long hours, a second job, have job pressure, and receive more work-related contact outside regular work hours, and have more challenging work. Collectively, our findings elaborate on the determinants of multitasking—underscoring the differential and sometimes-unexpected influences of socioeconomic status, job-related demands, resources. Most importantly, our results suggest a remarkable degree of similarity in both the patterns among the determinants and their interrelationships among Canadian and American workers.
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Some readers might have concerns about the response rate. Although a potential problem associated with lower response rates is nonresponse bias in estimates (Babbie 2007), recent research has challenged the link between response rates and nonresponse bias (see Groves 2006; Curtin et al. 2000; Merkle and Edelman 2002). Nevertheless, we address the possibility that results were unduly influenced by nonresponse bias. In order to do this, we compared results from unweighted and weighted analyses in which we weighted the sample based on a key set of demographic statuses (e.g., gender, age, marital status, education) from the 2006 Canadian Census. We found few differences between the weighted and unweighted results. Winship and Mare (1992) argue that controlling for characteristics on which individuals may be under- or over-sampled adjusts for biases due to these characteristics; all of our analyses include a set of controls to adjust for this potentiality.
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A grant award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) supports this study (Funding Reference Number: MOP-102730; Scott Schieman, P.I). We also acknowledge the Families and Work Institute and all those whose efforts provided the support for and access to the 2002 National Study of the Changing Workforce.
See Table 4.
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Schieman, S., Young, M. Who Engages in Work–Family Multitasking? A Study of Canadian and American Workers. Soc Indic Res 120, 741–767 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-014-0609-7
- Work–family interface
- Job demands-resources model
- Flexible work arrangements
- Work–family conflict