WORK-FAMILY STRESS AND MENTAL HEALTH AMONG FEMALE BANK EMPLOYEES AT DIFFERENT LIFE STAGES AND THE MODERATING ROLE OF SOCIAL SUPPORT
Keywords:Occupational-Household Stress, Mental Health, Social Support, Life Stages & Employed Women
Employed women who are not only shouldering the household responsibilities but are also dealing with demands of their work role have to deal with duel responsibilities, each significant for them in its own right and thereby, they suffer from stresses from both sources – the workplace and the household. This double load of stress can compromise their physical as well as mental health which needs to be addressed before damages become irreparable. Studies suggest that availability of Social Support may moderate the relationship between stress and mental health and thus reduce the deleterious consequences of stress. Literature also suggests that women balance their work and family/home life in different ways at the various stages of their lives. The present investigation, hence, aims at exploring the stresses emanating from workplace as well as household and mental health along with the moderator effect of social support on the relationship between them among bank employed women at different W-F life stages. Occupational Stress Index, Life Demand Schedule, Mental Health Inventory and Social Support Scale were administered individually to 250 clerical level female bank employees, belonging to three life stages, viz., Stage-I(Below 30yrs), Stage-II (30-40yrs) & Stage-III (Above 40yrs).
Intergroup comparison revealed that on areas of occupational stress (OS), role overload, poor peer relation remained stable over the three stages, however, at Stage-II stress due to role conflict was highest but was lowest due to intrinsic impoverishment. Ss belonging to younger groups had higher stress due to low status and strenuous working conditions than those at Stage-III. In context to household stress (HS), a decreasing trend with the younger groups experiencing higher time and economic constraints than the older subjects was recorded, whereas Ss at Stage-I experienced highest effort constraint. On areas of mental health (MH) a gradual improvement from Stage-I through Stage-II to Stage-III was found. Correlational analysis indicated that OS scores correlated significantly and negatively with MH scores at all the W-F Life Stages. Whereas, HS scores correlated significantly and negatively with MH scores at Stages-I & II but not at Stage-III. Results of moderator analysis indicated that relationship between OS and MH was not moderated by Emotional and Practical support but it was significantly moderated by Informational support at Stage-I only, and by Companionship support at Stage-II only. The relationship between HS and MH was significantly moderated by Emotional support at Stage-I and Stage-III, by Informational support at Stage-III only, by Practical support at Stage-I only, and by Companionship support at Stages-I and Stage-III. Results have been analyzed in the light of the changes that take place in the lives of the women working in banking sector.
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