Work Family Conflict, Occupational Stress And Life Satisfaction Among Married Career Women

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Work Family Conflict, Occupational Stress And Life Satisfaction Among Married Career Women

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

There has been a growing scholarly interest in the gendered nature career which has furthered our understanding of the career trends among married women (Tlaiss and Kauser 2011; Broadbridge 2007; Simpson et al, 2010). This study has called for the adoption of human resource management best practices which inspire gender inclusiveness and greater diversity within the work milieu. Consequently, over the last three decades, there has been a measured rise in the numbers of highly skilled female professionals and managers across different industries, which has led to a gradual re-configuration of the top management positions from male towards female (Ismail and Ibrahim 2007). However, available statistics reveals a high level of disparity in levels of gender diversity at top management positions in Nigeria. For instance, in the Nigerian Federal Civil Service, which is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria, 76% of civil servants are men, and 24% are women with women holding less than 14% of the total management level positions in the Nigerian public sector (Goldstar, 2005/2006)

In Ekiti state, Nigeria’s largest commercial hub, private sector involvement of women as directors and top management were 13.87% and 13.84% respectively in 2005, while 8.14% and 13.11% were recorded for women directors and top managers respectively in 2006, representing a slight decline of their involvement in the succeeding year (Goldstar, 2006/07). We explore the barriers to career progress of females in acquiring top management positions and the nature of married career women barriers experienced within the Nigerian context due to the combination of work family conflict, perceived stress and satisfaction of life in attaining a meaningful coexistence within the work place and the interplay of the family roles. There are several issues surrounding married career women as managers in Nigerian organizations and the perceptions of these managers regarding gender stereotyping in terms of their personal aspirations regarding careers, mentoring, education, marriage, and having children. It would be interesting to understand how these factors impact on their career progression.

Work is a central part of almost everyone’s life. Most adults devote weekdays to work (Landy & Conte, 2004) as career development makes up almost 70% of all human developmental tasks. Workers in the public sector are experiencing substantial transformation in organizations via organizational as well as career changes which affects the long-term relationship and psychological contract between organizations and coworkers. According to Hall and Mirvis (1996) and Callanan (2003), the psychological contract which embodies perceptions and beliefs regarding the reciprocal obligations that exist between employers and employees has shifted from relational to transactional. In this realm, our traditional understanding of careers as a linear career path or as a series of upward progression, followed by increasing income status, security within a functional area and often within a single organization (Capelli, 1992; Eddleston, 2004) has shifted to lateral and horizontal movement. According to Ackah and Heaton (2004), these new paradigms of careers can provide wider alternatives, positions and experience in order to fulfill the personal needs as well as intrinsic satisfaction of employees among married career women. Accordingly, these structural and social transitions have influenced many aspects of managers’ and workers’ career behaviors, one of which is life satisfaction (Baruch, 2004).

Perceived satisfaction on the job is reflected by the needs of sense of fulfillment and expectation for the job to be interesting, challenging and personally satisfying (Smither, 1994). Job satisfaction is also an achievement indicator in career developmental tasks (Sidek, 2002) and is associated with the psychological (Limbert, 2004) and individual well-being (Nassab, 2008). Low job satisfaction can be an important indicator of counterproductive employee behavior and can result in behavior such as absenteeism (Spector, 1985; Martin & Miller, 1986) and turnover intentions (Spector, 1985; Dupré & Day, 2007). Job satisfaction can also partially mediate the relationship of psychosocial work factors to deviant work behaviours. Therefore, maintaining and enhancing job satisfaction is important in order to establish quality worker, workplace and work itself (Bokti & Talib, 2009).

However, life satisfaction is an overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point of time. According to Diener (1984) life satisfaction refers to the overall cognitive judgemental aspects of subjective wellbeing and is likely to influence to everything around us. It is frequently included as an outcome or consequence variable in work-family research (Allen, Herstm, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000). The study of Cramer (1995) suggested that the type of job we hold could have a major impact on life satisfaction and job satisfaction brings life satisfaction. Bruke, Ronald & Mamo (1999) found that personal and situational factors were generally unrelated to self-reported life satisfaction. However work experiences and work outcomes were consistently and strongly related to self-reported life satisfaction. Studies also showed managerial and professional women reported more positive work experience and more favourable work outcomes also reported greater life satisfaction.

It appears that the withdrawal syndrome observable among Nigerian Civil savant is psycho-personological in nature where employee life satisfaction contends with occupational stress and work-family conflict. This factors stood so strong that workers begins to exhibit counterproductive employee behavior such as absenteeism, intention to quit, social loafing, employee incongruence which has retrogressive impact on organizational productivity. Family work conflict influences employee satisfaction with life. With employees appears to grapple with balancing their commitment between work and family without having role-conflict or valuing one above the other. The increased understanding the work-family interface stems from the demonstrated outcomes of work-family conflict on role and life satisfaction.

Life satisfaction was conceptualized as deriving from satisfaction through having a good job and family life (Sekaran 1983). Some prior evidence supports the relationship between work-family conflict, job and family satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Several studies have found negative relationships between inter-role conflict and job satisfaction Uones and Butler 1980; Pleck et al. 1980; Staines and O’Connor 1980; Kopelman et al. 1983; Sekaran 1985; Greenhaus and Parasuraman 1986; Parasuraman et al. 1989; Mohamed Hashim 1993). Work-family conflict was also found negatively related to family satisfaction (Pleck et al.1980; Staines and O’Connor 1980; Greenhaus and Kopelman 1981; Jones and Butler 1980; Parasuraman et al. 1989; Aryee 1992). Several earlier researchers have found a positive relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction (Bamundo and Kopelman 1980; Rice et al. 1980; Sekaran 1985; Burke and McKeen 1988; Rice et al. 1992), and between family satisfaction and life satisfaction (Campbell et al. 1976; Lee 1978; Kopelman et al. 1983; Riceetal.1992). The model of work-family conflict proposed by Kopelman et al. (1983) was chosen as the theoretical base for this research. This model presents a nomological network among work conflict, family conflict, work-family conflict (which Kopelman called interrole conflict), and job, family and life satisfaction (Ahmad, 1996).

The conceptualization of the termed work-family conflict is a bit confusing. Work-to-family conflict occurs when experiences at work interfere with family life like extensive, irregular or inflexible work hours, work overload and other forms of job stress, interpersonal conflict at work, extensive travel, career transitions, unsupportive supervisors or organization. For example, an unexpected meeting late in the day may prevent a parent from picking up his or her child from school. Family to work-conflict occurs when experiences in the family interfere with work life like presence of young children, primary responsibility for children, elder care responsibilities, interpersonal conflict within the family unit, unsupportive family members. For example, a parent may take time off from work in order to take care of a sick child (Hasnain, Ansari, Ali & Sharma, 2012). Although these two forms of conflict i.e., work interference with family and family interference with work are strongly correlated with each other, yet more attention has been directed at work interference with family more than family interference with work.

Both work and family claim time and energy, work is an important source of income, financial security and status in the society. Family functions as a nucleus, where two partners find intimacy, support and raise their offspring, the two were not independent (Kanter, 1977; Hasnain et al., 2012). A home where one of the spouse is a workaholic there will be spillover from work time to home time and thereby will not have time to be with spouse and children which can gradually break the home to two separate set. When there is strain on relationship due to a partner’s workaholism, both partners can become stressed and less supportive of one another resulting in negative behavior (Hasnain et al., 2012). In a study enthusiastic workaholics were found to have significantly more life satisfaction and purpose in life than non enthusiastic workaholics (Bonebright, Cynthia, Clay, Daniel, Ankenmann & Robert, 2000). Zhao and Qu (2009) found that work interfering with family had negative effects on job satisfaction but not life satisfaction, whereas, family interfering with work had negative effects on life satisfaction rather than job satisfaction. The higher the level of work-family conflict, the lower the level of life satisfaction (Kossek & Ozeki, 1998).

A job that appears to be stressful to employees and have a resultant effect on their wellbeing. Milliken and Dunn-Jensen (2005) posit that schedules and work contracts have left workers with intensification of work and less time for private and social life (Sparks, Faragher and Cooper, 2001). Leka, Griffiths and Cox (2004) refer to occupational stress as “the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope”. It originates from organizational aspects such as long work hours, lack of organizational support and organizational change (Davey, Obst, & Sheehan, 2001), lack of support from supervisors and colleagues, and conflict with demands and pressures (Leka, et al., 2004). Occupational stress is recognized as major problems for both employees and organizations. For employees, stress frequently contributes to the risk of accidents, burn-out and illnesses like coronary heart disease, hyper-tension and severe depression (Sutherland & Cooper, 1988). For organizations, stress-related problems result in low job satisfaction, poor quality of performance, increased absence from work and high turnover (Motowidlo, Packard & Manning, 1986). Besides, Akinboye, Akinboye and Adeyemo (2002) describe job stress as that detrimental emotional and physical response that arise when job demands are inconsistent with the resources and needs of the worker. Part of what serves as the main stimulators of occupational stress for educational administrators occurred in the work environment (Swent & Gmelch, 1977). In recent times, many of the most stressful events can said to be related to the workplace: firings, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, variations in work hours or conditions, etc (Mutiu, 2012).

Reaction based definitions like Akinboye et, al. (2002) see stress as a person’s psychological or physiological response to environmental factors, in which stress is seen as both the stimulus (stressor) and the response (strain). Based on this perspective, stress often happens when the demands of a particular experience is about to exceed the resources available, thus, resulting to change in the person’s psychological and physiological condition in order to deal with with the experience (Cooper, Dewe, and O’ Driscoll, 2001). So, a stressful situation occurs when a person exert an impact on and responds to his/her environment (Siu, 2002). Schjoedt (2009) found that job stress fully mediates the relationship between work-family and job satisfaction. Ahmad, Baba, & Hassan (1999) identified work-family conflict as one of the major stressors in the work place leading to various negative outcomes, including impaired wellbeing. Demerouti, Bakker, Schaufeli (2001) found in a spill over research that crossover path from females’ exhaustion to males’ exhaustion, from males’ life satisfaction to their partners’ life satisfaction showed not only job related strain, but also positive context free well-being may crossover among partners. A Pan-EU study (European Commission, 2006) found that when people are satisfied with their jobs, they are satisfied with their non-work-related life and become happier. Paschali and Tsitsas (2010) found that students who have low anxiety scores have more life satisfaction. Several studies found that the poor health status among elderly African-Americans is related to increased psychological distress and lower levels of life satisfaction (Broman, 1997; Tran, Wright, & Chatters, 1991).

However, recent observation reveals that present scenario the women folk fastly entering the different works and jobs outside of the house- walls has broken the old myth of men as working spouse on one hand, and on the other women doing different works and jobs have brought them double roles to play making them burdened along with household works. In a nut shell, the above discussions show that interference from work to family and vice-versa has consequential relations with occupational stress and life satisfaction which is the focus of this study.

1.2 Statement of Problem

Stress is a problem that cannot be overlooked. Stress has negative effect on individuals and on employee productivity in any organization (Adeoye, 2009). Consequently, stress affects the individual), his or her family, the community and the nation at large. Available research evidence clearly shows that dual career women encounter stress in their attempt to fulfils home and out-of-home demands, (Adeoye and Durosaro, 2003). Although, the stress experience is not peculiarly limited to career married women, the latter seems to be more affected because of their dual roles as wives and mothers on one hand, and employees on another. The home-work interface stress therefore seems to particularly affect women. If women are considered important in nation building even at this stage of Nigeria’s development, then issues such as stress among career married women should be investigated.

Observation reveals that civil service is paraded with absenteeism, intention to quit, social loafing, employee incongruence as report shows that 20% of the unemployed candidate sitting for aptitude test and interview are civil servants. This is enough evidence to note that increment in salary, incentives, promotion, recognition and other factors built in to the models of retaining and keeping potential workers may not be strong enough. If the organisation will not take a step further see if worker are truly balancing work and family role and if they are adequately fitting in the increased organizational demands and characteristics. This fact activated the interest of this studying in investigating the influence of work-family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Nigerian society.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to contribute to knowledge and provide empirical evidence on the influence of Work Family Conflict, Occupational Stress and Life Satisfaction among married Career Women in Ado Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state. However, the study thus:

  1. Investigate the relationship that exists among the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?
  2. Determine the combined contributions of the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?
  3. To investigate the relative contributions the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti state?
  4. To observed if there is any significant difference among married career women servants in selected universities on the basis of educational qualifications?
  5. To observed if there is any significant difference among married career women servant and the their years of experience in service?

1.4 Significance of the Study

A clear understanding of life satisfaction determinants among civil servants might help in the recommendation of an appropriate psycho-educational intervention that can assist in the development and improvement on the well being married career women among the civil servants through policy implementation especially in Nigerian cities. This study will further shed more light to this critical public interest by expanding views on the influence of occupational stress and work-family conflict on their life satisfaction via publishing of the outcome in this research.

This study is highly essential due to the fact that data collected in this study will provide adequate scientific and technical information on the psychosocial predictor of wellbeing among civil savants which has capacity for learning and it may suggest how to improve and appropriate research-based psycho-therapeutic intervention resources to generally improve the coping and reduce the risk of a life dissatisfaction in working as a civil servants.

In addition, clinical psychologists, and personnel will benefit from the results of this study which can inform them on how to design better and effective training programs for civil servants. Hence, findings of this study will contribute to knowledge in this area and expand literature. The entire Nigerian local government communities have not been immune from the emerging forces of stress in the country. Despite the nation’s declaration of the importance of University education in national technological developments and the role it plays in satisfying manpower needs, there seems to be growing evidence that there are really no private, states or local government area that will genuinely claim to enjoy the basic facilities and resources.

Local government council area has traditionally been regarded as a low stress occupation among the married career women. Although not highly paid, academics have been envied because they enjoyed tenure, light work load, flexibility and the freedom to pursue their own research interests (career). Local government council has enjoy so many of these advantages that seems to have been eroded in Nigerian civil service setting. More importantly, the present government had a lot of favour towards the empowerment of married career women which one of the core benefits of holding up to a profession despites its crisis and stress faced in the course of executing such an assignment to the nation.

1.5 Scope of the Study

This research work covers; the influence of work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Ado Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state.

1.6 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms are define operationally as it was used in the study

Married Career Women:

It referred to a recognized adult female worker who is married and highly committed to an organization where she performs her daily duties.

Life Satisfaction:

Is defined as an overall assessment of feelings and attitudes about one’s life at a particular point of time or it refers to the overall cognitive judgemental aspects of subjective wellbeing and is likely to influence to everything around us.

Occupational Stress:

Is referred to as a chronic disease caused by conditions in the workplace that negatively affects an individual’s performance and/or overall wellbeing of his/her body and mind. French (1974) defined occupational stress as the characteristics of the job that pose a threat to the individual, and occupational strain as the deviation from a normal response that an individual would experience in any situation.

Work-family Conflict:

Is referred to as a form of inter-role conflict in which the role demands stemming from one domain (work or family) are incompatible with role demands stemming from another domain (family or work).

Years of experience:

Is referred to as numbers of years spent in a specific career, occupation or job description. The norm for this is the mean of scores and its standard deviation. It was included in the section A part of the measuring question used in this study.

Level of education Completed:

Is referred to as the highest qualification the participants have obtained in their area of specialization.

Chapter Five

Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.0 Introduction

This study investigates work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti State with a sample size of one hundred and eighty-three participants. In doing this, the study examined the relationship among the variables in the study. Three research questions were formulated to undertake the task. However, the discussion of the findings is discussed below.

5.1 Discussion of the findings

Research question one states that is there any significant relationship among the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) as predictor of married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti State? Findings showed that the there was a positive significant relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variable. Hence, the variables were confirmed. The appearance of the finding supports the view of Lewis, Smithson, and Kugelberg (2002) found evidence that achieving work-life balance was of high importance to the participants. A study conducted in the USA found that young people were less likely to identify work as an important part of life than those of the same age a generation earlier (Smola& Sutton, 2002). Research by Smithson (1999) suggests that young people’s occupational choices are influenced by the way in which they prioritize their work and family roles, and that they tend to place a high value on both work and family rather than on one or the other. This generational shift in values may, however, be limited to Western nations. Research conducted in China suggests that the Chinese are less concerned than Westerners with choosing an occupation that allows sufficient time for non-work activities and interests (Shenkar& Ronen, 1987; Bu & McKeen, 2001).

Kets de Vries (1995) suggested that many successful managers embark upon their careers in order to compensate for the absence, either physical or psychological, of their fathers during childhood. “The desire to be a manager expresses a desire to become one’s own father. It means raising yourself ‘the right way’, with total control of your life” (Pines &Yanai, 2001: 172).

Research by Okamato and England (1998, cited in Badgett & Folbre, 2003) suggests that young women take family responsibilities into account when choosing an occupation. Marks and Houston (2002) conducted a study of academically high achieving girls aged 15 to 17 years, and found that their education and career plans were significantly influenced by perceived social pressure to give up work to care for their children.

Research conducted on the perceived attractiveness of individuals as dating or marriage partners provides further insight into the role of work and family expectations in determining career choice. In a survey of attitudes among undergraduate students majoring in science, most young men reported that women studying in male-dominated disciplines such as engineering, physics, chemistry, and applied sciences were inherently unattractive (Seymour & Hewitt, 1997).

In an experiment in which job type and job status were manipulated in dating profiles shown to participants, Badgett and Folbre (2003) found that men and women in occupations that do not conform to traditional gender stereotypes were rated as less attractive potential romantic partners. Valcour and Tolbert (2003) found that within dual-career couples, men’s careers are given priority far more frequently than women’s. Meanwhile, research by Kirchmeyer (2002) showed that having a spouse was associated with a higher income for male managers, and a lower income for female managers.

Also consistent with these theories were the results of Schneer and Reitman (2002), who found that in a longitudinal study of MBA alumni, the highest earners were married men who had children, and the lowest earners were single, childless men. While these findings would also appear to support human capital theory, single women were found to achieve similar career progress as married women, rather than outperform them as implied by the precepts of human capital theory. A longitudinal study of managers and professionals conducted by Tharenou (1999) revealed that in the private sector, married fathers with stay-at-home wives enjoyed greater career advancement than married fathers in dual-earner partnerships, who in turn enjoyed greater career advancement than single men with no children.

This too is consistent with spousal support theory, as the resources provided by wives to their husbands’ careers diminish once the wives have their own careers requiring resources, and the single men receive no spousal support at all.

The second research question that states that what is the joint contribution of the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) as predictor of married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti State? The findings depicted that there is a joint effect of independent variables to the prediction of married career women. This corroborates with the findings of Sturges and Guest (2004) found a close, positive relationship between organizational support for non-work responsibilities and activities, and organizational commitment. Employees whose supervisors provide support for work-family issues report fewer intentions to leave the organization (Allen, 2001; Aryee, Luk, & Stone, 1998), as do those who perceive a supportive organizational work-family culture, characterized by managerial support for work-life issues, fewer negative career consequences for using flexible working practices and other family-friendly programs, and fewer organizational time demands placed on employees (Allen, 2001; Thompson, Beauvais &Lyness, 1999).

A supportive work-family culture has also been associated with female employees’ plans to return to work more quickly after giving birth (Lyness, Thompson, Francesco &Judiesch, 1999), and employees who perceive organizational values that are supportive of work-life balance report greater satisfaction with their careers and less intent to quit (Burke et al., 2003). Research has also shown a positive relationship between the provision of voluntary reduced hours and employee retention (Williams, Ford, Dohring, Lee, & MacDermid, 2000), and between employee satisfaction with work schedule flexibility and intentions to leave the organization (Aryee et al., 1998).
Similarly, Thompson et al. (1999) found a link between work-family benefit availability and turnover intentions, and women with school-aged children in Roehling et al.’s (2001) study reported greater level of loyalty to the organization. Research by Cable and Judge (1996) has linked value congruence to increased employee involvement and satisfaction with work, and fewer intentions to quit. In some cases, problems balancing work with family commitments lead to a decision to exit the labour force entirely. Perrewe and Hochwarter (2001) suggest that value congruence would occur if an individual employee viewed participation in family activities as a crucial aspect of life, and these activities were supported by the employing organization. Such support could take the form of sympathetic and helpful supervisors, a culture that encourages work-life balance amongst employees, or the provision of work-life programs such as flexible hours.

Recent studies refuted earlier findings and asserted that females demonstrated an interest in a greater number of careers and displayed more gender-role flexibility in their career aspirations than males (Francis, 2002; Mendez & Crawford, 2002). Jones and Womble (1997) revealed that female secondary students had more positive attitudes toward work than males. However, Watson, et. al. (2002) noted adolescent females were more conflicted between their future careers and commitment to marriage and family. Occupational status and educational level of parents.
Similarly, Signer’s and Saldana’s (2001) study found the social status of mothers’ occupations, as opposed to the social status of fathers’ occupations, had a stronger correlation with the social status of female students’ career aspirations. The researchers attributed this finding to the fact that mothers exhibit a greater presence in many homes. Parents’ educational level has been positively related to aspirations of youth (Mau &Bikos, 2000). Burlin (1976) stated that both parents’ education level wielded a strong influence on career choices of their daughters.
Signer and Saldana (2001) noted the positive relationship between adolescent females’ career aspirations and their mothers’ educational achievement. Jones and Womble (1998) found that students whose mothers completed either a two-year or four-year post secondary degree had higher perceptions of work and career-related issues. Women’s education gains in the workplace. Research supports the idea that the more education a woman receives, the more likely she is to engage in paid employment (Nieva& Gutek, 1981; Schiffler, 1975). Almost 90 percent of more than 69 million American parents with children under the age of 18 are employed (Fredriksen-Goldsen &Scharlach, 2001, p.3), and “dual-income families are …characterized as being overextended, overworked, overwhelmed and over the top” (Gambles, Lewis, & Rapoport, 2006, p.67). The number of families headed by single parents has increased 25 percent since 1990, to more than 7.5 million households (Sloan Work and Family Research Network, 2005).

Research question three states that what are the relative contributions of each of the independent variables (work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction) as predictor of married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti State? From the findings, it was revealed that there is a relative contribution of the independent variables to the prediction of married career women. This implies that there is a relative effect of both independent variables as stated above.

In developing the Career-Family Attitudes Measure (CFAM), Sanders, Lengnick-Hall, Lengnick-Hall, and Steele- Clapp (1998) found that American high school students expressed a preference for integrating their choices regarding work and family, in contrast to making trade-off between the two domains. According to Brown (2002), family or group influence impact both the decision-making process and the career an individual chooses. Research by Corcoran and Courant (1987) demonstrated that the degree to which a mother’s occupation and industry were stereotypically “female” was positively related to the extent to which her daughter chose an occupation that was similarly sex-typed.

The dominance of men’s careers is in line with conformance to social expectations theory, and assists men’s career success while helping to contribute to women’s lower pay (Valcour& Tolbert, 2003). Han and Moen (1998) found a negative relationship between marital stability and career advancement for women, a result consistent with both conformance to social expectations theory and spousal support theory. Shaffer and Harrison (1998) found that the more family responsibilities an expatriate employee had, the more salient were family-related factors when the decision was being made as to whether or not to withdraw from the international assignment.

Family responsibilities and the experience of the spouse during expatriation influenced expatriates’ adjustment and non-work-related satisfaction, which in turn were associated with plans to search for other employment, general thoughts or consideration of quitting, and intentions to quit (Shaffer & Harrison, 1998). Additionally, Heins et al. (1982) reported that families often encouraged the educational and career aspirations of male children but not those of female children. Thus, not only did sex differences in career aspirations develop early in childhood, girls appeared to learn quickly that certain adult status were available to them, reflecting societal sex-role expectations (Looft, 1971b).

In general, researchers have found that women who worked full-time reported better psychological outcomes than stay-at-home mothers. In a study of middle-class women who varied in employment, marital, and parental status, Barnett & Baruch (1985) found that employment status accounted for most of the variance in psychological well-being and that married women with children who held high-prestige jobs reported the greatest level of well-being. Additional evidence for this association came from Wethington and Kessler (1989) who conducted a longitudinal study over a 3 year period and found that women who entered the workforce from being a home-maker experienced less depression whereas employed women who decreased their hours of paid employment to either low part-time or homemaker status reported increased symptoms of depression.

According to Witter, Okun, Stock & Haring (1984) education is significantly positively related to subjective well-being, accounting for 1 to 3 percent of the variance. Their study also reveals that education contributes to subjective well-being primarily by affecting occupation, and that it has a rather small effect apart from this. Besides arguing that the relationship between education and well-being is affected by national wealth, Kahneman, Diener & Schwartz (2003) conclude, based on an extensive literature review, that the effect of education is also stronger for those with low incomes.

These findings are supported by Worell (2002), who says that education appears to be highly related to life satisfaction in poor nations, but also among individuals with lower income levels. In line with the law of diminishing marginal utility she suggests that these individuals may value and appreciate the experience of education more than those who perceive access to education as universal and easily available. Additionally, Cuyper, de & Witte, de (2006) indicate that a number of studies have demonstrated lower workload among temporary employees compared with permanent employees. Scherer (2009), on the other hand, argues that employment contracts with limited duration may constitute an additional source of insecurity and precariousness for workers and their families. She says that temporary workers face greater career instability, higher unemployment risks, lower upward mobility chances, considerable risk of remaining trapped in ‘fixed-term’ employment, poorer working conditions, lower remuneration, and lower training investments by employers.

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations are made to the employees/managers, organizations, society and future researchers based on the findings in this study.

  1. Married working women experience work-family conflict in trying to meet the expectations of work and family roles. In managing the conflict arising from the expectations of multiple roles, the women tended to cope through reactive role behaviour and personal role redefinition more than structural role redefinition.
  2. One of the implications of the prevalence of work-family conflict among married working women is that women will need assistance in terms of facilities, education, and advisory and support services in trying to cope with the conflict. Extension planners need to consider the problems in managing multiple roles among dual-career families when planning non-formal educational programmes.
  3. Family development practitioners should be responsive to dual-career families in need of assistance in managing work family conflict. A knowledge of various coping strategies and their consequences is essential. Family development educators concerned with effective management of contemporary family stressors are encouraged to include more extensive coverage of the work-family interface in the curriculum.
  4. Acknowledging that married working women experience work-family conflict, it is pertinent that employers and policy makers pay special attention to improve the welfare of employees through improved facilities and support services such as day-care on site, flex-time and 90-day maternity leave, to help them cope with their multiple roles. Besides employers, policy makers, extension planners and family development practitioners and educators, husbands also have a role to play since spousal support is a crucial variable for the reduction of interrole conflict for working women (Holahan and Gilbert 1979).
  5. It is important that researchers concerned with the problems of married career women avoid seeing the problem of work in isolation from the total life space of women. Another stream of research that warrants continued investigation is that of role conflict experienced by other groups of working women and their coping behaviour, and how organisations can facilitate the development of individual coping strategies through human resource development programmes.
  6. Further research concerning work family conflict needs to address the manipulation of organisational policies to reduce the strain produced by dual roles of the home and work environments. Researchers need to investigate adjustments made by organisations which actually reduce the stresses arising from the mutual demands of the work and family domains.

5.3 Conclusion

This study provides a framework for the analysis of women’s occupation choices, marriage, and fertility decisions women take over their life cycle, taking into account uncertainty about the future, breaking new ground in two important ways. Given that there is an extensive literature in labor economics recognizes that the life-cycle labor force participation of a woman is highly associated with her family choices, virtually no study going further to incorporate female occupational choices. The model presented in this paper incorporate the role of professional occupation in a dynamic setting with other life-cycle decisions.

Another important contribution to the literature is that job offers from different occupations are further modeled to capture uncertainties of the dynamics in the labor market. The estimation results of structural parameters indicate that the life-cycle patterns of occupation, marriage and contraceptive behaviors varies significantly with their observable characteristics such as education, ability, race and strongly depends on the presence of children, especially children younger than 6 years old.

Finally, to conclude, since composite job satisfaction has been composed merely for employees born between 1935 and 1990, the finding that job satisfaction does not operate as a mediating variable in the relationship between the type of employment contract and life satisfaction may not be applicable to other occupational types (e.g. employers, entrepreneurs and people who work for their family business).

5.4 Limitations of the study

Like other studies, this study is not without its limitations. Our sample consisted randomly on work family conflict, occupational stress and life satisfaction among married career women in Ado Ekiti local government area of Ekiti State which may limit the generalization of the results. This study is also limited because only one hundred and eighty-three participants were selected to participate in this study. This study can be strengthened by increasing the sample size as the data analysis results and findings may vary substantially when the sample size is increased or decreased.

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