Balancing Career and Family

  • Paula J. Caplan


Even the most experienced psychologists have trouble balancing paid work and family, whether their work is in academia or in clinical practice, so undergraduates, graduate students, and interns have no reason to feel incompetent and inadequate if they have trouble doing the balancing act. We feel we are shortchanging our loved ones when we spend time on our studies or work, and we feel we are being insufficiently productive as students or workers because of spending time meeting family responsibilities—and even more when we notice that we are actually having fun with our partners, parents, or children. Spending any time meeting our other needs, such as going for a swim or reading a book of poetry or just sitting quietly and thinking, often makes us feel we are shirking both of our other sets of duties. This is the case for people of both sexes but is more common for women and for men who are not white, heterosexual, able-bodied, or doing what is considered to be “mainstream” work (Caplan, 1994).


American Psychological Association Family Responsibility Balance Career Human Scale Tenured Position 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Addtional Resources1

  1. Bell-Scott, P., & Sheftall, B. G. (1987). Black women in higher education: Struggling to gain visibility. New York: Garland.Google Scholar
  2. Chrisler, J. (1998). Teacher vs. scholar: Role conflict for women? In L. Collins, J. Chrisler, & K. Quina (Eds.), Career strategies for women academics: Arming Athena (pp. 107–27). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  3. Committee on the Status of Women (1991). Non-regular instructional personnel in Ontario universities. Toronto: Council of Ontario Universities.Google Scholar
  4. Committee on Women in Psychology, American Psychological Association (1992). Survival guide to academe for women and ethnic minorities. Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  5. Haley, E, (1989). Support systems for women in graduate school. In C. Filteau (Ed.). Proceedings of a conference on women in graduate studies in Ontario (pp. 32–41). Toronto: Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.Google Scholar
  6. Hensel, N. (1991). Realizing gender equaliry in higher education: The need to integrate work/family issues. (Report No. 2). Washington: George Washington School of Education and Human Development (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education).Google Scholar
  7. Kitzinger, C. (1990). Heterosexism in psychology. The Psychologist, 391–2.Google Scholar
  8. Levstik, L. S. (1982). The impossible dream: The Ph.D., marriage, and family. In S. Vartuli (Ed.), The Ph.D. experience: A woman’s point of view (pp. 93–104). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar
  9. Pyke, S. (1990). A message to council. Council of Ontario universities, annual report 1989–90. Committee on the Status of Women. Toronto: Council of Ontario Universities.Google Scholar
  10. Roby, P. (1973). Institutional barriers to women students in higher education. In A. S. Rossi, & A. Calderwood (Eds.), Academic women on the move (pp. 37–56). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  11. Rose, S. (Ed.) (1986). Career guide for women scholars. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Task Force on Women in Academe (2000). Women in academe: Two steps forward, one step back. Report of the Task Force on Women in Academe. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  13. Trofimenkoff, S. M. (1989). A woman administrator looks at life and love in the graduate school. In C. Filteau (Ed.), Proceedings of a conference on women in graduate studies in Ontario, (pp. 114–18). Toronto: Ontario Council on Graduate Studies.Google Scholar
  14. Williams, R. (1982). In and out of relationships: A serious game for the woman doctoral student. In S. Vartuli (Ed.), The Ph.D. experience: A woman’s point of view (79–82). New York: Praeger.Google Scholar


  1. American Psychological Association (2000). Report of the Task Force on Women in Academe. Women in academe: Two steps forward, one step back. Retrieved July 18, 2002, from Scholar
  2. Caplan, P. J. (1994). Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman’s Guide to Surviving in the Academic Worid. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  3. Caplan, P. J. (2000). THE NEW Don’t Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Caplan, P. J. (2001). Motherhood: Its changing face. In Encyclopedia of women and gender (Vol. 2, pp. 783–794). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  5. Donnis, I. (2001, December 14). Illiberal education. Providence Phoenix, 1, 8–9.Google Scholar
  6. Enns, C. Z. (1997). Feminist theories and feminist psychotherapies: Origins, themes, and variations. New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  7. Gehlmann, S., Wicherski, M., & Kohout, J. (1995). Characteristics of graduate departments in psychology: 1993–94. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  8. Greenglass, E. (1985). A social-psychological view of marriage for women. International Journal of Women ’s Studies, 8, 24–31.Google Scholar
  9. Pate, W. E. II. (2001). Analyses of data from graduate study in psychology. Retrieved July 18, 2002 from Scholar
  10. Pleck, J. (1986). Employment and fatherhood: Issues and innovative policies. In M. Lamb (Ed.), The father’s role: Applied perspectives (pp. 385–412). New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  11. Pleck, J. (1997). Paternal involvement: Levels, sources, and consequences. In M. Lamb (Ed.), The Role of the Father in Child Development (pp. 66–103). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  12. Sheinin, R. (1987, June). The monastic origins of the university. Presented to Canadian Association of University Teachers’ Status of Women workshop, Fredericton, NB.Google Scholar
  13. Snyder, C. R.. McDermott, D. S., Leibowitz, R. Q., & Cheavens, J. (2000). The roles of female clinical psychologists in changing the field of psychotherapy. In C. R. Snyder, & R. E. Ingram (Eds.), Handbook of psychological change: Psychotherapy processes and practices for the 21st century (pp. 640–659). Toronto, ON: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  14. Stark-Adamec. C. (1995). Women’s ways of working: Rocking the boat and the cradle in academia. Research-based policy recommendations. Women, work, and stress: Developing mechanisms for change by bridging the gap between research and policy [Special Issue]. The WINning edge, December, 1–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula J. Caplan
    • 1
  1. 1.Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on WomenBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations