Efeitos de jornada de trabalho, habilidades sociais e gênero sobre o equilíbrio trabalho-família
Medeiros, Thaís Juliana
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Given the high workforce participation rates among men and women who have preschool-aged children, it is important to examine evidence about factors that may facilitate the conciliation of paid and family work. In addition to the issue of how to divide one’s time between these two spheres, which may be affected by the parents’ hours of work, the quality of the interactions that are occur in the family and workplace environments is also likely to be important, which may depend on the parents’ social skills. To investigate this issue, a research program was conducted, involving four studies. In Study 1, a literature review was conducted to examine theoretical perspectives used to discuss the interface between paid and family work. It was found that: (a) current theories include negative and positive aspects of the work-family interface; (b) a reduction in work-family conflicts is associated with benefits for the wellbeing of people in these two spheres; (c) workers who reported fewer conflicts had higher levels of work commitment and work satisfaction; (d) there are two instruments for evaluating the relationship between work and family, validated for use in Brazil; (e) various individual, family and organizational strategies contribute to improving the integration of these two roles. In Study 2, the objective was to analyze the effects of paid work hours on people’s wellbeing, in the Brazilian context. Based on the literature reviewed, women with low education, very low incomes and young children tended to have greater health problems because of their double and triple workloads. In addition, workers who had greater problems with their physical and mental health also had lengthy hours of work. In Study 3, the goal was to analyze if there are differences related to gender in the use of social skills, among adults. Evidence was found for the importance of cultural influences on the social skills of men and women. Thus, the objective of Study 4 was to examine the joint influence of work hours, social skills and gender on work-family balance and satisfaction with different facets of life. Interviews were conducted with 142 participants (54 men and 88 women), all of who were in a common law or marital relationship in which both partners were engaged in paid employment, and all were parents of at least one child of up to six years of age. The participants completed the Del Prette Social Skills Inventory, an instrument to evaluate perceptions of work-family spillover (facilitation and conflicts), and scales to evaluate their satisfaction with their job, organization of their home, relationship with their child, marital relationship, and life in general. Some of the key findings were that there was little direct influence of work hours on the work-family balance and satisfaction of the study participants. With respect to social skills, for the men, more so than for the women, their ability to express positive feelings contributed to a reduction in the frequency of work-family conflicts. With respect to the participants’ satisfaction with different aspects of their lives, once again, the satisfaction of the men was more strongly related to their social skills than in the case of the women. Among the women, the influence of social skills was more evident among those who were working part-time. Thus, one can conclude that work hours, social skills and gender are important factors that, jointly, can affect the work-family balance and satisfaction of workers with pre-school aged children. In future studies, it will be important to use larger samples, a longitudinal study design, and more specific instruments for evaluating social skills in each of the areas investigated.