The work-eldercare interface
The majority of family caregivers of older adults are also working for pay, and many experience work-family role conflict in managing both work and caregiving responsibilities. Work-family role conflict is associated with poorer psychological and physical health, which interferes with their ability to provide optimal care. Informed by role theory, this dissertation uses a randomized national sample of caregivers of older adults (N=465) to address the relationships between workplace characteristics, workplace flexibility, work-family role conflict, and caregiver stress. While much research has explored the work-family interface, few studies have investigated the workplace characteristics and work-family role conflict exclusively among caregivers of older adults. Additionally, the few studies exploring the relationship between workplace flexibility and stress among caregivers of older adults have yielded inconsistent findings. Results indicate that workplace characteristics associated with work-family role conflict among caregivers of older adults include supervisor support, work overload, work hours, and perceptions of a family-supportive work environment. A significant interaction effect between caregiving frequency (weekly vs. intermittent) indicates that while workplace flexibility is associated with decreased work-family conflict among those providing care intermittently, this association is not found for those providing care on a regular, weekly basis. A second set of analyses limited to regular, weekly caregivers (N=211) finds that work-family role conflict mediates the relationship between workplace flexibility and caregiver stress. This suggests that workplace flexibility may only benefit caregivers when work-family conflict is mitigated or reduced. Workplace flexibility is not associated with stress among caregivers in fair or poor health; caregivers struggling with their own health issues may need additional supports to manage work and family demands. These findings can inform the efforts of policymakers and practitioners working to promote the well-being of family caregivers of older adults.