Research: When Juggling Work and Family, Women Offer More Emotional Support Than Men

From Harvard Business Reviews authored by Lieke ten Brummelhuis and Jeffrey H. Greenhaus:

“In North America and Europe, the dual earner model is now more common than the male breadwinner model. Men and women no longer specialize in one role. Both are involved in paid work and care for children and elderly. The challenge of this juggling act is to maintain optimal performance at work and at home. Although jugglers may perform well on the core tasks required of them, the aspects of work and family life that are less urgent, compulsory, or obvious are often easier to neglect.

For instance, a parent might leave the office in time to pick up their kid from school, but then, exhausted, lack the energy to listen to their partner while fixing dinner later that night. Or, a person might manage to complete a work report by their deadline but miss out on happy hour and a chance to connect with their colleagues due to responsibilities at home. In other words, juggling multiple roles can put relationships under pressure — because we simply can’t do it all.

Or can we? We set out to discover this in a set of two studies, guided by the following research question:

How do demands and the amount of support received at work or at home affect the amount of support a person gives to their spouse or coworkers, and how does this in turn, affect the relationship of their larger family or team?”

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