The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Exceptional Care Responsibilities, Employment and Work-Life Outcomes: Findings From the Generations of Talent Study

Thursday, January 16, 2014: 4:30 PM
HBG Convention Center, Room 001A River Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Lisa M. Stewart, PhD, Assistant Professor, California State University, Monterey, Seaside, CA
Purpose: Exceptional care responsibilities refer to the experience of caring for a family member with a disability or chronic condition (Roundtree & Lynch, 2006). Rosenzweig, Brennan, and Ogilvie (2002) suggest the absence of flexibility supports in the community for employed family caregivers forces families look to the workplace and the family to meet their care responsibilities. Disability research is just beginning to examine the mechanisms within the workplace that support family caregivers with exceptional care responsibilities. Given the aging population and increase in number of people with disabilities and chronic conditions who are living longer, the number of caregivers who struggle with employment and caregiving, and the evidence suggesting that caregiving has negative health and employment consequences for family caregivers with exceptional care responsibilities, increased scientific understanding on how this type of care interacts with employment needed. This study presents findings from a survey of the workforce which studied employees working in seven multinational organizations in 11 different countries (Sakisian, Pitt-Catsouphes, Lee, Bhate, Bensen, 2011).

 Methods: A secondary analysis of the Generations of Talent Study, a global workforce survey (N=11,298) assessed how different types of typical and exceptional care responsibilities interacted with workplace supports (supervisor support, workplace culture and inclusion), type and use of flexible work arrangements on employee health and job satisfaction.  A sub-sample of employees who indicated that they provided care to a child under the age of 18 years, provided care to a spouse partner who is disabled/seriously ill, provided care to parents or parents-in-law were included in the sample for analysis (n= 4,797). The sample was further divided into sub-groups for comparative purposes (1) sandwich workers typical care (n=589), (2) sandwich workers exceptional care older adult (n=51), (3) exceptional care spouse and child (n=64), (4) exceptional care spouse (n=52), (5) typical care responsibilities older adult (n=1,372), (6) exceptional care responsibilities older adult (n=97), (7) typical care responsibilities childcare (n=2,572).  Data analyses included descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses.

 Results: Bivariate correlations and hierarchical linear regression modeling demonstrated overall adequate model fit for health and job commitment. For health, the demographic variables entered in step 1 accounted for 2% of the variance with age, education, having the strongest associations with the outcome. When type of care (typical or exceptional) and job characteristics were entered into the model in Step 2, they significantly improved the prediction (beta=-0.09, p<.01), with an additional 2% of variance explained. When workplace supports were added into the model in Step 3, an additional 2% of the variance was explained. Although the overall model for job commitment was stronger (R2=.24), having exceptional care responsibilities was not a significant predictor.

 Implications and Conclusions: The findings support the need to develop better measures that can assess different types of care responsibilities in order for researchers to accurately assess prevalence and impact that exceptional care responsibilities may have on individual, family and workplace outcomes. Implications for social work practice, policy and research are discussed.