Young Adult Parents’ Work-Family Stress: The Role of a Difficult Child and Parental Conflict

Amira Allen , Bowling Green State University
Wendy D. Manning, Bowling Green State University
Monica A. Longmore, Bowling Green State University
Peggy C. Giordano, Bowling Green State University

Majority of parents with children who are under 18 years are in the paid labor force, and studies have documented that employed parents with young children often experience high levels of work-family stress. The current study focuses on factors associated with observed variability in reports about work-family stress, and considers the role of child characteristics as well as couple-level dynamics. Prior research has shown that parenting a more ‘difficult’ child is a source of parenting stress, but have not focused specifically on work-family stress, and have tended to be limited to older parents. Analyses also investigate the role of partner disagreements about assistance with parenting responsibilities. Drawing on data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (TARS) (n=263), results indicate that having a child perceived as more difficult was associated with greater work-family stress among employed young parents, highlighting the importance of providing institutional and informal support to such parents.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity