Employed parents' reactions to work-family conflicts: Adaptive strategies of scaling back in Germany





gender ideology, parenthood, scaling back, work-family conflicts


Objective: This study investigates the extent to which employed mothers and fathers scale back on working hours or job pressures in response to work-to-family conflicts (WFC).

Background: Drawing on the concept of adaptive family strategies, it is assumed that WFC is an antecedent to a reduction in work demands. Considering partners’ gender ideology net of other resources and characteristics, we can expect to see gender differences in the adoption of this strategy. Relatively little research has been conducted on associations among WFC, gender ideology, gender, and work-related coping strategies.

Method: We use six waves of the German Family Panel (pairfam, release 11.0), covering the survey years 2012-2019, to examine the effect of WFC and gender ideology on employed mothers’ and fathers’ work-related coping strategies (N=791 mothers and N=1292 fathers). OLS regression is used to estimate the effect of WFC at  and gender ideology  on changes in job pressure and working hours between  and .

Results: Parents who experience WFC are more likely to reduce their job pressure and less likely to scale back on working hours. Gender differences in the reaction between mothers and fathers on WFC only occur in connection with traditional gender ideology.

Conclusion: Scaling back seems not to be a commonly used strategy to react to WFC.


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Adams, A., & Golsch, K. (2022). Employed parents’ reactions to work-family conflicts: Adaptive strategies of scaling back in Germany . Journal of Family Research, 34(4), 1101–1125. https://doi.org/10.20377/jfr-712