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Impact of Role Conflict on Marital Quality of Dual Career Couples in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Byline: Khalil ur Rahman and Rashid Khan

Keywords: Family; Work; Satisfaction; Communication; Togetherness

Introduction

In the past few decades, the traditional family structure with man as a breadwinner and woman as a caregiver has gradually transformed. These changes are attributed to the rising ratio of higher education and score of job opportunities for women in the paid labour market (Mergaert, 2013; Joseph and Inbanathan, 2016). Besides, feminist alternatives have also encouraged women to get confidence, skills, and knowledge to actively participate in the public arena while increasing numbers of men have begun to take family responsibilities and entrust social power in the families (Zanden, 1990). These social transformations have given rise to alternative forms of family, marital pattern and new partnership constellations including the emergence of dual career couples in Pakistan.

Dual career couple is relatively new phenomena in Pakistan, though it was conceptualized initially by Rapoport and Rapoport (1969) who described that a pattern of marital relations where both spouses are highly educated, working full time in a demanding job, have a strong identification with and commitment to their work and having high aspirations for upward career mobility (Cherpas, 1985; Haddock et al., 2001; Lucchini et al., 2007). Other commonly used terms for dual career couples are "two-paycheck families", "dual-worker families", "dual earner household" and "two-career persons" (Sekaran, 1986; Rizzo, 2009).

The numerical strength of dual career couples is not known in Pakistan; however, data in the industrially advanced countries shows that such type of family model has considerably increased especially in the 20th century. The data reveals that worldwide population of dual career couples was 9.3 million and 13.4 million in 1950 and 1960 respectively while this number has increased to 28.8 million in 1987 (Bedeian et al., 1988; Ochsner, 2012). In the US, 31% increase has been reported in the number of dual career couples between 1996 and 2006 with further increase of 47.5% in 2012 (Coleman and Coleman, 2012). Currently, 80% of the American married couples are dual-earning couples (Matos and Galinsky, 2011). The estimated dual career couples in Germany are ranging between 1-8% for all the educated people with approximately 30% for academic couples (Rusconi and Solga, 2008).

Role Conflict: A Salient Feature of Dual Career Couples

As work and family domain of dual career couples are dynamically connected therefore their work-related pressure permeates which affect family life and family related emotions carryover which affect their occupational performance. This carry over process is identified as inter-role-conflict (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Role conflict is heightened in the case of dual career couples because of the concurrent involvement of the spouses in familial and occupational roles. Researchers have argued that role expectations of these two domains are incompatible in many respects which are difficult to reconcile and causing conflict either in work or in the family domain (Lewis and Spanier, 1979; Netemeyer et al., 1996; Ochsner, 2012; Shockley and Singla, 2011; Minnotte et al., 2013).

Marital Quality

Marital Quality is a subjective construct to measure which has been explored in different times and places (Selcuk et al., 2010; Mosmann and Falcke, 2011; Acevedo et al., 2012). Other alternative terms for marital quality used by researchers are marital satisfaction (Faulkner et al., 2005), marital quality (Rogers and May, 2003), marital happiness and marital adjustment (Burley, 1995). Marital quality refers to the social appraisal of marital relationships and ascertaining the personality attributes of the married partners (Cohen et al., 2010). High marital quality refers to better marital adjustment, positive communication, increased marital happiness and togetherness in the relationships. Moreover, a high-quality marriage is considered to have marital adjustment, satisfaction and demonstration of love between spouses (Buss, 2007; Joseph and Inbanathan, 2016).

Literature Review

An extensive literature has reviewed the impacts of role conflict on marital quality concluding that dual earner couples experience role conflict leading to reduced marital satisfaction (Amstad et al., 2011; Mauno et al., 2006; Faulkner et al., 2005; Azeez, 2013; Joseph and Inbanathan, 2016). Likewise, some earlier studies have also found that work induced psychological distress and work burden lead to marital withdrawal, marital annoyance, and negative interactions between spouses, reduced marital adjustment and lower marital quality (Matthews et al., 1996; Rogers and Amato, 2000). More specifically, studies have outlined the negative aspects of work-family relationships by suggesting that work to family conflict and family to work conflict are both negatively associated with marital satisfaction (Galovan et al., 2010; Amstad et al., 2011; Minnotte et al., 2013).

At the individual level, role stressor is a potential reason which creates the likelihood of arguments, decrease relationship quality and leads to separation between spouses. In some other circumstances, stress also reduces communication between spouses and thus becomes problematic for marital partners (Richter et al., 2014).

In an in-depth exploration of the effect of role conflict on marital satisfaction, it was revealed that work-related stress affects marital interactions in three different ways. It affects spouse's communication, reduces time the spouses having together and increases health problems (Story and Bradbury, 2004). A study conducted among psychologists revealed that role conflict has negatively influenced the level of marital quality among the study participants (Burley, 1995; Oscharoff, 2011). Furthermore, it was found among the family therapists that as the number of hours per week increases, the amount of emotional work they invest in their family gatherings decreased (Kessler et al., 2000). Likewise, among clinical workers as work hours were increased, their interaction with close relatives has found to be reduced significantly (Killian, 2008).

Researchers had demonstrated that a spouse will be likely withdrawn and more irritating towards their family members when his/her day at the office is stressful (Schulz et al., 2004).

Rational of the Study

We envisioned that stresses experienced by working couples may be more threatening for marital outcomes in the context of Pakistani society because majority of the dual career couples are planning and pursuing their occupational career in the city centers. Commuter lifestyle has enormously reduced their access to the unconditional and sympathetic family support. Besides, organizational support such as child care facilities and accommodation for dual career couples is not available and the couples have to rely on their own resources to integrate their family and occupational roles.

Locale of the Study

This study is a part of our Ph.D dissertation which was conducted in Peshawar, the capital city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan. The city of Peshawar was selected for this study because of its dynamic job market, gender participation and being a hub of medical and educational institutions. We selected only public sector universities and hospitals because employees of these institutions having full time job with high professional standards and thus qualify the definition of dual career couples. A total of six public sector universities and three hospitals were purposively selected in the city including the University of Peshawar, Agriculture University of Peshawar, Islamia College University, University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar, Khyber Medical University, Institute of Business Sciences, Hayatabad Peshawar.

The three selected hospitals were Khyber Teaching Hospital, Lady Reading Hospital, and Hayatabad Medical Complex Peshawar. A total of 388 respondents, 228 male and 160 females were selected while using snowballing sample techniques.

Study Design and Measurement of Variables

Role conflict was selected as independent variable in which two facets family to work and work to family were selected to ascertain how and to what extent these are influencing the marital quality of dual career couples. Family to work conflict was loaded with 8 and work to the family conflict was loaded with 7 research items while using Work-Family Conflict scale developed by Netemeyer et al. (1996). Marital quality was taken as independent variable which is also used by many researchers. Marital quality was further operationalized with the help of four components i.e. marital satisfaction, marital communication, marital togetherness and marital disagreements which is drawn from the study of Allendorf and Ghimire (2013) who selected five dimensions of marital quality. However, we adopted only four components including marital satisfaction, communication, togetherness and marital disagreements and eliminated the problems dimension of marital quality used by researchers.

All the selected four components of marital quality were loaded with response items to ascertain the overall marital quality of dual career couples. Marital satisfaction was loaded with 10 response items while marital communication was loaded with 6 positively directed items and marital togetherness was loaded with 7 response items to assess marital bond, cohesiveness and the amount of interaction between spouses. Moreover, marital disagreement was loaded with 7 response items to ascertain the level of marital conflict between dual career couples. To measure these components, we studied various measurement scales including a scale developed by Roach et al. (1981), Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) and Quality of Marriage Index (Norton, 1983) and the items used by (Allendorf and Ghimire, 2013). All the items of these scales were carefully studied, and its suitability was examined, and the most socially viable and culturally relevant items were subsequently adopted.

Data Analysis

Multiple steps were performed to treat our statistical data to draw results and conclusions. Data was initially treated through descriptive statistics to enumerate the loaded responses on all the selected variables to know the general trends of the data. Regression test was run to know the degree of relation and direction between independent and dependent variables. A correlation analysis was also conducted to ascertain correlations between the constituent variables of marital quality and role conflict.

Results and Discussions

Table-1 shows that 58.8% respondents were male while 41.2% of the respondents were female. Furthermore, 53.1% respondents were having teaching profession, 33.8% were from medical while 13.1% were from administration. The majority being 41.5% respondents were from age group 23-30 and 36.9% were from the age group of 31-40. The data further shows that 27.1% respondents were qualified as MS followed by 26% who were having MBBS, 25.3% were qualified as PhD while 1.3% respondents were having BA qualification.

Table-1: Demographic Information of the Study Participants (N=388)

Demographics###Frequency###%

Gender

Male###228###58.8

Female###160###41.2

Profession

Teaching###206###53.1

Medical###131###33.8

Administration###51###13.1

Age

23-30###161###41.5

31-38###143###36.9

39-46###61###15.7

47-54###22###5.7

Above 54###01###0.3

Education

BA###05###1.3

MA###57###14.7

MS###105###27.1

PhD###98###25.3

MBBS###101###26

FCPS###22###5.7

Level of role conflict was enumerated by considering the frequencies and percentages of all the responses loaded on the role conflict scales. The data in table-2 shows that 47.9% of the respondents were agreed that family role interferes with their work responsibilities and 49.2% respondents were worried about the work which they had left undone at their home while 55.2% expressed that family-related duties cut off their working hours at the office. A substantial number of 51.3% respondents were agreed that work burden at home negatively affect their concentration in the workplace and 53.6% stated that job efficiency is reduced because of their involvement in domestic responsibilities. The data further indicate that majority being 45.4% of the total respondents stated that their job interferes with their work and 46.9% stated that they are having a bad temper at home because of their job.

The data further shows that 45.6% stated their job affect their immediate family while 54.9% stated that their job affect their outer family.

Table-2: Responses on Family to Work and Work to Family Conflict (N=388)

Variables and Response items###Disagree###Neutral###Agree

Family to Work Conflict

My family interfere with my job role###153(33.4)###49(12.6)###186(47.9)

I think about domestic work at my office###146(37.6)###51(13.1)###191(49.2)

Family work cut off my office hours###131(33.8)###43(11.1)###214(55.2)

Domestic works reduce my attention in job###118(30.4)###71(18.3)###199(51.3)

I am inefficient at work due to family role###152(39.2)###28(7.2)###208(53.6)

Family roles affect my career promotion###140(36.1)###51(13.1)###197(50.8)

My immediate family affect my job###168(43.3)###48(12.4)###172(44.3)

My outer family affect my job###123(31.7)###76(19.6)###189(48.7)

Work to Family Conflict

My job interferes with my family role###153(39.4)###49(15.2)###176(45.4)

Due to job, I am bad-tempered at home###149(38.4)###57(14.7)###182(46.9)

I do not like thinking about job at home###138(35.6)###50(12.9)###200(51.5)

I come back so tired to do domestic tasks###106(27.3)###45(11.6)###237(61.1)

I have to change my plan for family role###143(36.9)###68(17.5)###177(45.6)

My work affect my immediate family###147(37.9)###64(16.5)###177(45.6)

My work mostly affect my outer family###125(32.2)###50(12.9)###213(54.9)

The estimated level of marital quality was obtained by considering the statistical values of all the selected components of marital quality. Furthermore, level of marital satisfaction, communication, marital togetherness and disagreement was calculated by considering the score of its loaded responses on the selected scale. The data in table-3 indicates that majority being 51% respondents have agreed that their partner is like a team member, 57.7% reported that they had to have no regrets about their marriage, 56.7% respondents were agreed that things are going well while 50.5% respondents were agreed that their marriage helps them in accomplishing their life goal. The data further suggest that majority 51.5% respondents do not think that another partner will make them happy as their current partners and 48.7% respondents were agreed that their marriage has made them better spouses.

Complementing the previous statement, 51% respondents had expressed that if they have to remarry, they will prefer to marry this partner again while 47.4% were agreed that they will prefer to choose dual career lifestyle again. Similarly, another feeling of satisfaction was expressed by 52.1% respondents that if other people get marriage like them will be very lucky.

The data further show that 47.2% respondents have reported that they spend their leisure time together. Likewise, 49.2% have reported that they regularly having fun with their spouses while majority being 52.6% respondents were agreed that they specifically plan to eat together. The table further indicates that 45.9% respondents were agreed that they visit family and friends together while 50.5% respondents reported that they try to go shopping together with their spouses. Furthermore, 47.9% respondents were usually conducting office work together with their spouses while 56.2% respondents reported that they conduct household related tasks with their spouse together. The table further indicates about the degree of disagreements on spouse job, salary spending, family size, child schooling, time spending, domestic chores and thinking about divorce. The data shows that majority of the respondents were experiencing no such disagreements in the mentioned areas of family matters.

Table-3: Responses of Satisfaction, Communication, Togetherness and Disagreements (N=388)

Variables and Response items###Disagree###Neutral###Agree

Marital Satisfaction

My partner is like a team member for me###135(34.8)###55(14.2)###198(51.0)

I never regret that I married this spouse###122(31.4)###42(10.8)###224(57.7)

I never regret that we live together###122(31.4)###61(15.7)###205(52.8)

I think that things between us are fine###106(27.3)###62(16.0)###220(56.7)

Our marriage helps me achieve my goal###116(29.9)###76(19.6)###196(50.5)

Another partner cannot make me happy###107(27.6)###81(20.9)###200(51.5)

My marriage has made me a better spouse###126(33.5)###73(18.8)###189(48.7)

If re-marry, I will choose this partner###128(33.0)###62(16.0)###198(51.0)

If remarry, I will choose a dual career###117(30.2)###87(22.4)###184(47.4)

If others get marriage like us, will be lucky###135(34.8)###51(3.1)###202(52.1)

Marital Communication

We share thoughts about family matters###150(38.7)###39(10.1)###199(51.3)

I enjoy conversation with a spouse###122(31.4)###48(12.4)###218(56.2)

We warmly discuss job-difficulties###138(35.6)###53(13.7)###197(50.8)

We warmly discuss household problems###117(30.2)###71(18.3)###200(51.5)

We warmly discuss our personal issues###121(31.2)###67(17.3)###200(51.5)

We pay compliments to each other###141(36.3)###53(13.7)###194(50.0)

Marital Togetherness

We spend free time together###150(38.7)###55(14.2)###183(47.2)

I and my partner often have a fun together###143(36.9)###54(13.9)###191(49.2)

We specifically plan to eat together###117(30.2)###67(17.3)###204(52.6)

We visit family and friends together###127(32.7)###83(21.4)###178(45.9)

We often go for shopping together###124(32.0)###68(17.5)###196(50.5)

we support each other in office work###119(30.7)###83(21.4)###186(47.9)

We work domestic work together###112(28.9)###58(14.9)###212(56.2)

Marital Disagreements

Disagreement on doing job###176(45.4)###83(21.4)###129(33.2)

Disagreement on salary spending###182(46.9)###70(18.0)###136(35.1)

Disagreement about family size###188(48.5)###52(13.4)###148(38.1)

Disagreement about child schooling###163(42.0)###70(18.0)###155(39.9)

I think about divorce/separation###204(52.6)###88(22.7)###96(24.7)

Demands for more time bother me###208(53.6)###53(13.7)###127(32.7)

Disagreement on domestic chores###218(56.2)###52(13.4)###118(30.4)

Data in table-4 shows relation between family-based conflict and selected components of marital quality. It is indicated that family to work conflict is significantly and negatively associated with all components of marital quality as marital satisfaction ([beta]=-0.199, p<0.05), marital communication ([beta]=-0.117, p<0.05), marital togetherness ([beta]=-0.201, p<0.05), marital disagreement ([beta]=+0.100, p<0.05) and overall marital quality ([beta]=-1.79, p<0.05). Our findings suggest that family-related stresses negatively affect overall marital quality by reducing marital satisfaction, communication, togetherness and increasing marital disagreements.

Table-4: Regression Analysis of Marital Quality and Family to Work Conflict

Variables###B###SE###[beta]###T###R2

Marital Satisfaction###-1.418###0.355###-0.199**###-3.949###0.040

Marital Communication###-0.482###0.209###-0.117*###-2.312###0.014

Marital Togetherness###-0.883###0.219###-0.201**###-4.037###0.041

Marital Disagreements###0.515###0.260###0.100*###1.983###0.010

Over all Marital Quality -2.269###0.635###-0.179**###-3.571###0.032

Data in table-5 indicates regression coefficients of work-based conflict and components of marital quality. As evident from our statistical findings that work to family conflict has a significant and negative relationship with marital satisfaction ([beta]=-0,206, p<0.05), marital communication ([beta]=-0.308, p<0.05), marital togetherness ([beta]=-0.300, p<0.05), marital disagreements ([beta]=+0.172, p<0.05 and overall marital quality ([beta]=-0.250, p<0.05). It is inferred from both models that family and work-based strain negatively affecting marital satisfaction, marital communication, and marital quality and increasing the level of marital disagreement.

Table-5: Regression Analysis of Marital Quality and Work to Family Conflict

Variables###B###SE###[beta]###T###R2

Marital Satisfaction###-1.552###0.375###-0.206**###-4.140###0.043

Marital Communication###-1.345###0.211###-0.308**###-6.367###0.095

Marital Togetherness###-1.393###0.225###-0.300**###-6.187###0.090

Marital Disagreements###0.935###0.272###0.172**###3.438###0.030

Over all Marital Quality -3.356###0.661###-0.250**###-5.077###0.063

As seen in table-6, family induced conflict and work-based conflict were found negatively and significantly correlated with all the selected components of marital quality. The highest negative correlation was found between work to family conflict and marital communication (0.30) and togetherness (-0.30) which is followed by correlations between work to family conflict and overall marital quality (-0.25). Likewise, our data indicates that family to work conflict has a lowest correlation with marital communication (-0.11), marital satisfaction (0.19) and marital togetherness (-0.20). The most significant and positive correlations were obtained between marital quality and level of satisfaction (0.76) which is followed by correlations between marital communication and overall marital quality.

Table-6: Correlational Analysis between Study Variables

Variable###1###2###3###4###5###6###7

FWC###1

WFC###.483**###1

Satisfaction###-.119**###-.206**###1

communication###-.117**###-.308**###.420**###1

Togetherness###-.201**###-.300**###.238**###.372**###1

Disagreements###-.100*###-.172**###-.027###-.096###.014###1

Marital Quality###-.179**###-.250**###.769**###.651**###.606*###.363*###1

Discussion

The aim of this study was to empirically examine the impact of role conflict on marital quality in dual career couples. We examined the relationships of role conflict i.e. family to work and work to family conflict with selected components of marital quality including marital satisfaction, marital communication, and togetherness. Demographic characteristics shown in table-1 indicates that majority of people in our sample were consisted of male, young individuals with higher educational background and occupational career which is viewed as completely different strata within the general population in the city of Peshawar.

We found that the simultaneously engagement in family and occupational roles can cause some negative impacts in both domains for dual career couples. Considering the average values of the loaded response on the role conflict variable, we found that occupational workload may interfere with spouse's family role obligations therefore the general marital behavior of the couples is changed.

Our data regarding all the selected components of marital quality suggest higher level of marital satisfaction, marital communication and marital togetherness and lower level of marital disagreements in dual career couples. Nonetheless, a considerable amount of negative responses was also reported on marital satisfaction, togetherness, and communication from our study participants as given in table-3. Based on the mixed responses obtained regarding marital satisfaction, togetherness and communication between spouses suggest that work to family and family to work linkages may have a positive or negative effect on dual career couples. In this connection, results taken from regression analysis elucidate this point by presenting significant and negative relations between role conflicts, satisfaction, communication, togetherness while positive relation with marital disagreement component of marital quality.

Our findings in table-4 highlight the linkages between the stressors accumulated in the family domain and its outcomes for marital satisfaction, communication, togetherness and marital disagreements. These findings suggest that as family induced stressors increases, dual career couples will likely have low level of marital satisfaction and reduced social intimacy. Furthermore, we also found that dual career couples were satisfied with their marriage while having positive communication and togetherness; however, we found that family-related stresses were found to be significantly mitigating their marital satisfaction, lessening verbal communication and also decreasing their chances to catch up each other on some important family gatherings.

Moreover, findings given in table-5 elucidate that work-related emotions are significantly and negatively affecting marital quality by significantly reducing their level of marital satisfaction and increasing marital discord between the spouses. Furthermore, work-induced stressors were also observed as negative and significant predictor of marital communication and marital togetherness. Considering findings obtained from table-4 and table-5, it is inferred that stressors from either domain i.e. family and work are negatively affecting marital quality however work induced stressors were observed to have more negative outcomes for marital quality in relation to family induced stresses. Similarly, the correlational model presented in table-6 also confirms that family to work and work to family conflict was found significantly and negatively correlated with marital satisfaction, marital togetherness, and marital communication.

On the other hand, positive marital communication, marital satisfaction, frequent marital interaction and togetherness were found as positive predictors of marital quality of dual career couples.

Conclusions

This study concludes that the simultaneous demands of occupational role and family obligations is challenging for the working couples. Because of the dynamic connections between work and family domain, family-related stressors and work-induced stresses permeate to negatively affect the performance of dual career couples in each sphere of life. The study further concludes that role overload leads to reduced marital quality by significantly decreasing the general level of marital satisfaction of dual career couples. Moreover, both facets of role conflicts also significantly reduce the level of marital communication and marital togetherness between spouses. Furthermore, role stressors from work and family domains also having negative consequences for marital stability by sprouting marital disagreements, marital discords and conflicts in dual career couples.

On the other hand, positive attitude of dual career couples towards their marriage; friendly communication and lively interaction among spouses are enhancing the overall level of marital quality and reduce role conflict in dual career couples.

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Author:Rahman, Khalil ur; Khan, Rashid
Publication:The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 30, 2018
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