نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
دانشیار گروه روانشناسی پژوهشکده زنان، دانشگاه الزهرا(س)، تهران، ایران. firstname.lastname@example.org
عنوان مقاله [English]
The current study was administrated to investigate the attitudes to gender roles and parental exhaustion of parting duties in mothers having or not having paid professional activity. The research method was descriptive, and the research design is ex post facto. The study sample was 195 mothers (76 employed and 119 unemployed) who participated voluntarily from five regions of north, south, west, east, and center of Tehran. Measurements included the Parental Burnout Assessment (consist of parental exhaustion, contrast with the past self of the parent, being fed up, and emotional distancing from the parenting role), and the Attitudes towards Gender Roles Questionnaire (including the traditional, the gender-specific, and the androgenic attitude). The results of the independent t-test between two groups showed that there was a significant difference between two groups of employed and unemployed mothers in attitudes towards the gender-specific role and androgenic (gender equality) role (p = 0.02), and there was no significant difference in parental burnout and its dimensions. The results also showed that employed mothers, although having egalitarian attitudes to gender roles and experience more role pressure than unemployed mothers, experience less parental burnout compared to unemployed mothers who have gender-specific role attitudes. It is worth considering the role of overload in employing mothers and how unemployed mothers spend their leisure time with their children according to their gender attitudes.
Parental Burnout, Gender Roles, Employed Mothers.
Gender roles are a set of behavioral norms or expectations from the two sexes that are learned over time under the influence of education and economics (Myers, Riley, & Robinson, 2002). Different social contexts affect not only different degrees of gender equality in different countries but also various perceptions and definitions of gender roles in people (Constantin & Voicu, 2015). The relationships between sexes play a role in time and culture, depending on social processes (Duncan, 1994). There are four types of attitudes toward gender roles including the traditional attitudes, special attitudes, androgynist (gender equality) attitudes, and patriarchal attitudes (Jelen, 1988). When studying factors influencing attitudes towards gender roles at the individual level, researchers showed that women and educated peoples (Cunningham, Beutel, Barber, & Thornton, 2005), single working men (Kane, 1998), individuals with lower religious attitudes (Sherkat, 2000), single or childless people (Banaszak & Plutzer, 1993), high-income employed people (Banaszak & Leighley, 1991), citizens living in developed countries (Wilensky, 2002), postmodern countries (Inglehart & Welzel, 2007), and communities with social policies, political rights, and civil liberties (Constantin, 2015), have egalitarian gender attitudes towards other groups. Although some studies revealed that educated employed women do not accept the traditional attitude towards gender roles (Movahhed, Enayat, & Garagi, 2005), other studies confirm this attitude more theoretically than in practice (Ravadrad & Naebi, 2007). Geisler & Kreyenfeld (2011) found that women, when married and accepted marital and parental responsibilities, would shift from egalitarian attitudes to more traditional ones, showing less commitment and agency to job responsibilities (Fuegen, Biernat, Haines, & Deaux, 2019). However, employed women, while simultaneously accepting social roles and taking household chores, experience negative consequences that affect both themselves and their parent-child interactions (Borelli, Nelson, River, Birken, & Moss-Racusin, 2017). Overtiredness due to role overload in employed mothers can lead them to show the symptoms of parental burnout syndrome.
Burned-out parents get exhausted from daily dealing with their children and hate their parenting role, feel emptiness and self-blame, are less involved in active relationships with their children, and are unable to manage their children's issues effectively (Mikolajczak, Brianda, Avalosse, & Roskam, 2018). Studies have shown that parental burnout is associated with monotonous feelings of daily tasks (Lebert-Charron, Dorard, Boujut, & Wendland, 2018), getting bored of having a young child, or having large numbers of children (Nimby, Lundberg, Sveger, & McNeil, 1997), continuous demands of family needs, role confusion, unrealistic expectations, lack of control and irrational demands of the environment (Duygun, & Sezgin, 2003; Mikolajczak et al., 2017; Lebert-Charron et al., 2018). Some findings, on the other hand, suggest that married employees or mothers with children experience less burnout (Maslach & Jackson, 1985).
Given the growing social developments in the society for women to enter higher education and job positions as well as men, the present study aims to compare attitudes toward gender roles and parental burnout in two groups of employed and non-employed mothers, and to study the effect of job on the variables, so, the current study aims to answer if there is a significant difference between two groups of employed and non-employed mothers in terms of their attitudes toward gender roles? and if there is a significant difference between employed and non-employed mothers in the consequences of parenting responsibilities?
This is descriptive research benefits from the ex-post-facto method. The participants were 195 mothers including 76 employees who participated in the study voluntarily from five regions of Tehran. Measurement tools included the 23-items for parental burnout (Roskam, Brianda, & Mikolajczak, 2018), and 12-items for attitudes towards gender roles (Constantin & Voicu, 2015).
The results found no difference in parental burnout scores between two groups of employed and non-employed mothers. Besides, the effect of the job on parental burnout is found to be very small. The result also revealed that there was a significant difference between the two groups of employed and non-employed mothers in terms of their attitudes toward specific gender roles and androgynist attitudes. Non-employed mothers obtained higher scores in attitudes toward gender-specific roles, and employed mothers had the highest score in gender equality attitudes.
Employed and non-employed mothers were significantly different in terms of hours spent with their children at home. Cohen's d measurement showed a large effect of spent hours on parental burnout. The average time spent by both groups with their children shows that unemployed mothers spend more time with their children.
Factors such as educational level, socio-economic background, and social context can effectively dampen the attitudes of women and men towards gender roles. Women with higher education and income, facing fair gender beliefs and attitudes, better adopt egalitarian attitudes toward roles and responsibilities, have more financial independence and satisfaction, and more benefit from such attitudes to achieve their goals. Defining social roles and adopting an egalitarian approach to gender roles in employed women does not prevent them from fulfilling their parental and household duties, which, are still considered as the main responsibilities of mothers (Falahati, 2016; Dashti Khavidaki & Hosseini, 2015). However, taking on multiple responsibilities along with time pressure may distress mothers and may lead to exhaustion of parenting roles.
The results also showed a high parental burnout in housewives which is due to spending time with the child(ren), performing household chores, and lack of spouses participation in these chores. Therefore, it is worth considering the role of overwork in employed mothers and how non-employed mothers spend their leisure time with their children according to their gender attitudes.
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