Women, work and motherhood: the balancing act: a study of white middle-class women

Lawes, Ginny. (1993) Women, work and motherhood: the balancing act: a study of white middle-class women. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The thesis was basically exploratory in nature. A staged life cycle model, with three key stages, was developed which jointly incorporated women's work and motherhood roles. The chosen stages led to a focus on white middle-class women. This was therefore the target group from which the samples were drawn and the focus of any generalisation from these studies. The primary focus of the work was on the decision-making processes that women go through in making the transition from one stage to the next. This was looked at in terms of a cost/benefit model that incorporated meaning through an exploration of the stresses and satisfactions that women experienced at the three identified stages. This allowed the initial decision-making model to be 'unpacked', and the relevant factors to be identified. These were considered in detail and looked at in the context of the relevant literature. One factor, role conflict, was explored further in a separate survey where roles were found to be potential sources of support as well as of demands. In looking at the decision to return to work, five factors were found to be particularly important to the women, and these were successfully checked for reliability in a separate study. The research was started in 1986, and the surveys were undertaken in 1987 and 1988.

Results also allowed the formulation of a stress/satisfaction model, and when looked at in relation to the decision-making processes, it was postulated that decision-making would be easier if certain criteria were met. The decision-making model was used to explore the implications for women's training in general, and the training of women returners in particular. In relation to the latter, it was found that women anticipating the return to work expected it to be more stressful than did those women actually experiencing that stage, suggesting that women may overestimate the size of the problem at the post-break stage, and thus delay returning to the labour market. The strengths and weaknesses of the models were recognized and certain recommendations for further research were made.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Cox, T.R.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Working mothers, work-life balance, decision making, role conflict
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:1622
Deposited By:Ms Valerie Airey
Deposited On:01 Nov 2010 11:44
Last Modified:01 Nov 2010 11:44

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