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01-08-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 8/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 8/2015

Giving Voice to Working Mothers: A Consumer Informed Study to Program Design for Working Mothers

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 8/2015
Divna M. Haslam, Pamela Patrick, James N. Kirby


Working parents experience considerable stress as they strive to cope with competing demands from work and family. However, workforce participation has shown to safeguard their personal wellbeing. It is therefore important that parents are adequately supported though appropriate and acceptable interventions in order to help them achieve quality of life, without needing to sacrifice one life domain for the other. This study adopted a consumer-focused perspective to program design to identify the relative fit between parental needs an existing workplace intervention. Focus groups were conducted with fifteen working mothers aged 30–44 years (M = 38.67). A thematic analysis revealed eight themes: (a) the impact of guilt, (b) crossover effects of work on family, (c) the availability of support, (d) being a quality parent, (e) getting the balance right, (f) impact on couple relationship, (g) having a career counts and (h) the need for low intensity programs. The extracted themes provided a good fit with existing workplace interventions that address stress and parenting. However, the results also indicated that working mothers need further assistance with strategies to manage guilt and the need to build on career strengths. Working parents also indicated a desire for briefer interventions. The implications for program design, including possible modifications, to current workplace interventions are discussed.

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