Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Disconnect between parenting and certain jobs a source of stress

Date:
August 16, 2014
Source:
American Sociological Association (ASA)
Summary:
Some working parents are carrying more psychological baggage than others — and the reason has nothing to do with demands on their time and energy. The cause is their occupation.

Some working parents are carrying more psychological baggage than others -- and the reason has nothing to do with demands on their time and energy.

The cause is their occupation.

According to University of Iowa researchers, parents who hold jobs viewed by society as aggressive, weak, or impersonal are likely to be more stressed out than parents whose occupations are seen in a light similar to parenting -- good, strong, and caring.

"We know that one source of stress for parents is the time and energy bind," says Mark Walker, a doctoral student in sociology at UI. "But what I wanted to examine was the extent to which discrepancy between the cultural meanings of a person's occupational and parental identities could impact the psychological well-being of working parents."

"What we found is, in fact, it does," he adds.

Walker will present his study at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

"I think the research is important in that it gives a name to something that I think many working parents experience but couldn't quite put a finger on," says Walker. "I think identifying the issue as a social problem rather than an individual one, or even worse: an imaginary problem, could be helpful to working parents in and of itself."

Walker's premise for the study was the fact that for every role people play in their lives -- be it parent, church member, or professor -- there is an identity. And attached to that identity is a "cultural meaning," which is how society views that identity.

"We use cultural information to define those identities," he says. "How people treat us and react to us is based on that cultural information."

For his study, Walker merged data on the cultural sentiments attached to parental and occupational identities with a traditional large-scale survey on work-family conflict and came up with a three-dimensional graph on which various occupations were plotted.

What Walker discovered is that the public is often skeptical about the abilities of parents whose occupations seemingly do not align with being a mother or a father.

"If a person is constantly met with skepticism, he or she can begin to feel stressed because that skepticism will take a toll over time," he says. "Those parents are always swimming upstream trying to convince people they are, for example, a legitimate parent or a legitimate attorney."

Among occupations that create more psychological baggage are: attorney, salesperson, laborer, receptionist, police officer, or politician. Those that align better, in terms of societal perception, with parenting include: teacher, physician, registered nurse, principal, and professor.

Study co-author Mary Noonan, an associate professor of sociology at UI, said the findings warrant a closer look by sociologists.

"I used to think the whole conflict was about time and energy and not so much this internal conflict about identity," she says. "These are pretty exciting results."

Walker says the study could help shape policy and workplace changes designed to reduce the psychological strain of juggling the roles of parent and worker.

"If employers are aware that working parents in a given occupation are more at risk of experiencing psychological strain, they could potentially provide more targeted mental health resources for those in 'at risk' occupations," he says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association (ASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association (ASA). "Disconnect between parenting and certain jobs a source of stress." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140816204415.htm>.
American Sociological Association (ASA). (2014, August 16). Disconnect between parenting and certain jobs a source of stress. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140816204415.htm
American Sociological Association (ASA). "Disconnect between parenting and certain jobs a source of stress." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140816204415.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins