ERIC Number: ED276941
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov
Reference Count: 0
The Social Networks of Employed Couples: The Role They Play in Coping with Stress.
Leslie, Leigh A.; Anderson, Elaine A.
As growing numbers of families are being supported by two employed parents, it becomes increasingly important that clinicians and researchers understand the factors affecting how successfully families cope with the demands of this life style. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the structure of spouses' social networks and the coping styles used in two-income families. Seventy-nine couples, in one of four work arrangements (dual career, dual earner, mixed status, and traditional breadwinner/homemaker) participated in the study. Subjects completed a mailed questionnaire seeking demographic and social relationship information. Results suggest that couples in different work arrangements do vary in the way their social networks are structured, how they interact with members of their networks, and the coping strategies they typically use. Dual career and mixed status couples appeared to be more autonomous or distant from their networks, both physically and behaviorally, than were dual earner and traditional couples. Their networks were less dense, had fewer kin, lived further away, and provided less frequent contact. The picture of coping strategies suggests that dual-earner couples are more likely to mobilize and seek community support, while dual-career couples are least likely to rely on spiritual support during stress. Data suggest that when stress is controlled for, structural network characteristics are not particularly helpful in understanding quality of life; most networks, regardless of their characteristics, operate fairly similarly when life appears to be normal. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations (Dearborn, MI, November 3-7, 1986).