Managing job and family commitments in families with children who have special needs

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Syms, William Dwight

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University of Guelph


This research uses data collected from 184 postal workers on how they balance the demands of having a child with special needs and participating in family and work life. The study focussed on the similarities and differences of work-family life experienced by employed mothers and fathers. While women took more days off, had higher average tension, and incurred more opportunity costs than men, the only difference that was statistically significant was child-related absenteeism. Gender was shown to moderate the effect of independent variables on the outcomes. The research provides insight into a sizable, but overlooked, group--working parents of children with special needs--and contributes to our understanding of how work-family conflict in these families is constructed and how it can be reduced.



parents, children with special needs, family life, work life, work-family life