Work and non-work stress among solicitors: Modelling the work-home interface

Scanlon, Thomas Joseph (2005) Work and non-work stress among solicitors: Modelling the work-home interface. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Focusing upon solicitors working in private law firms in England and Wales, the study investigates the interrelationships between domain-specific and work-home interference factors and their predictive value in relation to different categories of strain symptomatology and satisfaction outcomes. The research also examines the moderating influences of gender and
family type on the interface between work and home, and their differential impacts on well-being. Data were gathered in two stages. Stage one involved 20 interviews that allowed respondents to identify sources of work and home pressures for themselves. Content analysis of the interview transcripts facilitated the development of separate work and home pressure inventories. In addressing the difficulties associated with construct measurement, stage two developed an unorthodox approach for measuring both forms of work-home interference, which was part of an extensive survey instrument that included established outcome measures. The sample group was devised using a cluster sampling strategy whereby legal firms were grouped according to their size and then by regional cities. Nearly 2,500 surveys were distributed with a return rate of nearly 30%. The data set was split into two sub-sets via a cluster sampling strategy based on gender and family type to allow for a series of exploratory and confirmatory analyses in the development and testing of structural equation models of the work and home domain.
A distinguishing feature of this study is its examination of the work-home interface at the microlevel, which involved developing a series of structural equation models relevant to the most salient sources of work-home interference and domain-specific pressures experienced by solicitors. Through a series of exploratory and confirmatory analyses, the study' tested three differing sets of explanatory relations as to the interplay between specific aspects of the two domains, and the implications of this interplay for a range of outcomes. The findings provide strong empirical support to assert that work-to-home interference (e. g., concerns over ability) and home-to-work interference (e. g., unfulfilled domestic responsibilities) represent two distinct dimensions of individuals functioning with different rates of prevalence and different role related antecedents and outcomes that indicate that solicitors are being stretched in both domains. The empirical evidence indicates an increasing convergence in the public and private roles of male and female solicitors, highlighting the importance of both sexes having the opportunity to attain a balance between the domains of work and home. The study also demonstrates that work-home interference is not exclusively a problem for employees located in traditional nuclear families and shows that solicitors within differing familial situations (e. g., single persons) experience high levels of work-home interference that can exacerbate domainspecific pressures resulting in a poor state of health and low levels of work and home satisfaction.

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