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Balancing family, volunteer and work roles: The relationship among strategies, situations and satisfaction

Janet E Fox, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of the this study was to determine if relationships exist among strategies, situations and satisfaction experienced by Nebraska 4-H volunteers in balancing family, volunteer and work roles. The study applies the concepts of coping skills and balancing strategies (Hall, 1972; Amatea and Fong-Beyette 1987; Skinner and McCubbin, 1991; Wiersma, 1994 and Farhang, 1998. Two sets of independent variables in this study are strategies and situations. The first set of independent variables are defined as strategies or specific techniques or skills used by volunteers in managing multiple roles in family, volunteer and work settings. The second set of independent variables are family, volunteer and workplace situations as defined by the environment or circumstances that 4-H volunteers face in these multiple settings. The dependent variable is satisfaction as defined by feeling of contentment with one's life. ^ Central questions that focus the study were: What types of strategies do Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers utilize to balance family, volunteer and work roles? What family, volunteer and work situations do Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers encounter? What demographic characteristics describe Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers? How satisfied are Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers with balancing family, volunteer and work roles? What is the relationship between strategies used and the perceived satisfaction of Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers? What is the relationship between family, volunteer and work situations and perceived satisfaction of Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers? ^ A random sample of 825 Nebraska 4-H adult volunteers was surveyed by mail. With a 44% return, overall, the volunteers were satisfied with their ability to balance family, volunteer, and work roles. Management coping strategies were utilized more frequently over psychological coping strategies to balance multiple roles. However, psychological coping strategies were shown to have stronger relationships to satisfaction. Volunteers experienced a variety of both negative and positive situations with role overload being the most prevalent. Supportive networks, being recognized for good work, and having realistic expectations were strongly correlated with satisfaction, while stress, burnout and decreased energy levels all had an adverse relationship with satisfaction. However, volunteers did not routinely experience burnout. Role conflict appeared to have a weaker positive correlation with satisfaction. By exploring the relationship among balancing family, volunteer and work roles and strategies, situations and satisfaction, the study provides baseline data on how each role impacts the other roles. Knowing how the roles interplay will be valuable to volunteer managers, employers and families as they look to increase their ability to cope with multiple roles. The results of this study form a valuable foundation for designing volunteer programs that are “user” friendly to volunteers. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Education, Vocational

Recommended Citation

Fox, Janet E, "Balancing family, volunteer and work roles: The relationship among strategies, situations and satisfaction" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9984939.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9984939

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