The importance of role conflict on women's perceived wellness

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Whisenhunt, Amy
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Thesis (M.A.)
Fisher Institute for Wellness
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Interest in the relationship between work and family has grown considerably in the last decade. Today, women are responsible for the roles of a worker, parent, and a spouse. These commitments are specific and involved, each having positive and negative influences . Interrole conflict occurs when persons (usually women) simultaneously fulfill multiple roles. Maintaining the simultaneous juggling of these roles at an optimal level of success will cause a great deal of stress and work/family spillover. The stress of trying to balance these issues to create a quality life for their family can have a high price on a working mother's personal wellness. Wellness is defined as "an integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable, within the environment where she [he] is functioning" (Dunn, 1977,9). It is a process that helps people make appropriate choices for themselves to achieve a sense of wholeness. This sense of balance affects the roles of parent, spouse, and worker. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the stress of interrole conflict and the effects it has on women's perceived wellness.The participants in this study were 93 working mothers living in Muncie, Indiana. The participants completed two measurement tools, Perceived Wellness Survey and an Interrole Conflict Questionnaire. The data demonstrate a relationship between the amount of role conflict experienced and individual wellness as measured by the questionnaires. It is recommended that other researchers consider using these results to develop programming/interventions to specific target populations or other populations that this research would prove useful.