Modern fathers' dilemma of work-family reconciliation. Findings from the German Youth Institute Survey AID:A II




work-family conflict, fathers, family roles, family policy


Objective: This study investigated how work and family demands and resources relate to fathers’ perceived work-family conflicts.

Background: Increasing expectations for family involvement and the lingering centrality of employment in the male life course pose challenges for fathers to combine different life domains. However, most studies on work-family interface continue to focus on mothers and examine work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflicts separately.

Method: First, we used cluster analysis to identify a typology of four groups, each with different manifestations of work-to-family and family-to-work conflict. We then analyzed the relationship between fathers’ group membership in this typology and a number of relevant work and family demands and resources using multinomial logistic regression on a sample of 5,226 German nuclear families with at least one child under 18.

Results: Our findings revealed that the greatest proportion of fathers (38.2%) reported being primarily pressured from work (=work-to-family conflict predominates), 19.8% primarily from the family (=family-to-work conflict predominates), but another 13.4% reported feeling conflicted in both directions; only 28.6% of fathers reported being more or less free of conflicts. Results of multinominal logistic regression suggested that long work hours, intrusive work demands, and long commute associated with fathers’ work-to-family conflict or dual conflicts. The higher the fathers’ weekday time investment in childcare and the better the perceived couple and family relationship, the lower the likelihood of fathers’ experience of work-to-family and dual conflict, although the likelihood of family-to-work conflict is unaffected. In addition, a higher family income and having a non-working partner negatively associated with fathers’ perceived work-family conflicts.

Conclusion: These findings have strong implications for family-supportive practices and policies that are yet to focus on fathers in their difficult position between work and family obligations.


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How to Cite

Li, X., & Zerle-Elsässer, C. (2023). Modern fathers’ dilemma of work-family reconciliation. Findings from the German Youth Institute Survey AID:A II. Journal of Family Research, 35, 103–123.