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Role Overload, Role Conflict, and Stress: Addressing Consequences of Multiple Role Demands

Shelley Coverman
Social Forces
Vol. 67, No. 4 (Jun., 1989), pp. 965-982
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579710
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579710
Page Count: 18
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Role Overload, Role Conflict, and Stress: Addressing Consequences of Multiple Role Demands
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Abstract

Previous studies provide contradictory evidence regarding the relationship between multiple role demands and psychological well-being. Some of the inconsistency in this research may stem from the conceptual confusion surrounding the concepts of role overload and role conflict. This study clarifies these concepts in order to examine their effects on stress-related outcomes. A model is tested which specifies that role overload (e.g., domestic and paid work time expenditures) and role conflict (e.g., perceptions of work-family interference) affect satisfaction with various role domains (e.g., job satisfaction and marital satisfaction) which in turn influences stress (e.g., psychophysical symptoms and well-being). Covariance structure models are estimated for employed, currently married women and men. As expected, marital and job satisfaction strongly affect both psychophysical symptoms and well-being. Findings also suggest that role conflict decreases both sexes' job satisfaction and men's marital satisfaction and increases women's psychophysical symptoms. Role overload does not affect role satisfaction or stress for either sex. It is concluded that perceived role conflict decreases women's psychological health, but role overload does not.

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