Perceived stress and role conflict in dual-career couples - a didactic approach.
The objective of this research was to explore perceived stress and role conflict that dual-career couples are facing in South Africa. The relationship between work and family is a common topic in the field of Industrial and Organisational Psychology. Research has been conducted in other countries, in particular the United States; however not much research has been undertaken in South Africa. Hence, the purpose of this study was to explore the effect of stress and role-conflict on dual-career couples and the relationship on work-family balance in this context. This research aimed to look at gender differences on work-family conflict, in an attempt to understand perceived role conflict and the interplay of spillover on dual-career couples. A cross-sectional research design with a snowball sampling technique was used. The sample obtained for this research comprised of 105 participants who fulfilled the dual-career couple status. The Work Family Linkage Questionnaire (WFLQ) by Sumer and Knight (2001), with two additional questions on stress included by the researcher, were used as the measuring instrument. The results indicated that there were statistically and practically significant relationships between perceived stress and role-conflict in the different domains. Although no statistically significant results were obtained in the gender experience of role-conflict, when looking at the mean scores it was evident that men and women experienced role conflict differently. There were no significant differences between dual-career couples with and without children across all the sub-scales. However, the descriptive statistics suggested that dual-career couples without children experienced higher stress caused by work life than their counterparts with children. For future research it is recommended that more questions on stress be added, and also that variance in sample size of gender and couples with children and without children be increased as this was also a limitation of the current research.