Using data from a national survey of Canadian employees, a model linking family-role overload, work-role overload, total-role overload, and perceived stress was tested on a sample of 4,947 women and 3,923 men. All members of the sample were married/living with a partner, worked full-time (at least 37.5 hr per week), and had children under 18 living at home. The results verified our model as work-role overload and family-role overload were significant predictors of total-role overload and family-role overload, work-role overload, and total-role overload were significant predictors of perceived stress, regardless of employee gender. The results also showed that the paths between family-role overload and total-role overload and between family-role overload and perceived stress were significantly stronger for women than men. No gender differences were observed in any of the other paths in our model. At time of writing, this is the only empirical study to include work, family, and total-role overload in one model, and the first to examine the relationship between gender and role overload across the workfamily interface. As such, the study advances our theoretical understanding of role overload in a multi-role environment. The results also suggest that researchers and practitioners would benefit from the consideration of domain-specific and total-role overload in studies of employee stress.

Gender, Multi-role environment, Role overload, Stress, Work and family
International Journal of Stress Management
Sprott School of Business

Duxbury, L, Stevenson, M. (Maggie), & Higgins, C. (Christopher). (2018). Too much to do, too little time: Role overload and stress in a multi-role environment. International Journal of Stress Management, 25(3), 250–266. doi:10.1037/str0000062