The purpose of this chapter is to provide the theoretical framework from which role overload arises. This is followed by a discussion of the definitional issues associated with the role overload construct. The antecedents and consequences of role overload are presented and discussed. The theoretical underpinnings of the role overload construct can best be understood by examining the sociological theory of social roles. The term "role" refers to the pattern of behaviors expected and demanded of a person in a given social position by others within the social system. It provides a theoretical framework for understanding role overload and discusses the issues involved in defining the role overload construct. It then reviews the literature on the antecedents and consequences of role overload. Finally, it present findings from the 2001 Canadian National Work-Life Study that are pertinent to role overload and offers suggestions for research and practice. Here overload is defined as a time-based form of role conflict in which an individual perceives that the collective demands imposed by multiple roles (e.g., parent, spouse, employee) are so great that time and energy resources are insufficient to adequately fulfill the requirements of the various roles to the satisfaction of self or others. This definition incorporates a number of noteworthy conceptual points.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-012372574-5.50010-7
Citation
Duxbury, L, Lyons, S. (Sean), & Higgins, C. (Christopher). (2008). Too Much to do, and Not Enough Time: An Examination of Role Overload. In Handbook of Work-Family Integration (pp. 125–140). doi:10.1016/B978-012372574-5.50010-7