Adolescent Well-being Outcomes of Parental Perceptions of Work
Dual-earner families are an increasing demographic in our society (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2006a, 2006b). Employers, policymakers, and academics have focused their attention on how to best alleviate the negative consequences of work on families, and enhance the benefits that work and family can bring to one another. One aspect of the connection between work and family is the relationship between parental employment and adolescent well-being. This dissertation seeks to identify the relationships between parental perceptions of their job family-friendliness, satisfaction, stress and burnout, and spillover, and adolescent perceptions of parental mood after work, parental acceptance, and adolescent well-being. The current study uses data from a sample of 150 working families with adolescents from the Nurturing Families Study. This investigation examined parents' perceptions of their jobs and their middle school-aged children's assessments of parents' work and family processes as potential mediators or moderators. The relationships were analyzed using regression modeling techniques. Findings determine the extent to which parental employment experiences explain variance in adolescents' well-being. The most compelling findings from this dissertation suggest that parental assessments of their jobs and adolescent well-being are connected, though not directly. Connections between parent's jobs and adolescent well-being were seen only in relation to adolescent perceptions of mother's work and family contexts. Results indicate that adolescent perceptions of their mothers' level of acceptance moderated the relationship between mothers' reports of their job family-friendliness and their adolescents' reports of well-being. For mothers with low job family-friendliness, mother acceptance diminishes the negative association of this workplace characteristic on adolescent well-being. Additionally, when a mother's job satisfaction is low, adolescent perceptions of her mood after work diminishes the negative association of this workplace characteristic on their well-being more so than when job satisfaction is high. Family practitioners and clinical social workers will be able to use the findings to enhance their clinical work with families with adolescents. The results of the study are also relevant to employers and social workers within organizations. Finally, macro social workers interested in enhancing the well-being of working families and adolescents will be informed by the results of this study.