Prof Exploring How Time Shapes Interactions, Roles
October 17, 2012 - News Release
What is the relationship between work life and personal life over time? University of Guelph professor Gloria González-Morales has received a $74,200 grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) for her project “Diary Methods for Examining Work and Personal Life Over Time.”
A faculty member in the Department of Psychology, González-Morales is studying how change and time shape interactions among our daily roles, including those of employee, caregiver, friend and spouse.
Referring to “Report 6: Work-Life Conflict in Canada in the New Millennium: Key Findings and Recommendations From the 2001 National Work-Life Conflict Study” published by Health Canada in 2009, González-Morales said: “More than one in four of these study participants reported that their work interfered with their home responsibilities, and over 50 per cent of these respondents reported high levels of perceived stress, burnout and depressed mood. However, most of our knowledge about the relationships between work and other life roles is based on surveys taken at one point in time that only offer a ‘snapshot’ of the situation.”
González-Morales will use diary methods to collect data regularly on relationship dynamics on and off the job.
“We plan to collect data using more than 22 online surveys: daily surveys on weekdays spanning two weeks; weekly surveys spanning eight weeks; and monthly surveys over three months. The study participants’ partner and a colleague will also complete a very brief survey connected with the focal participant surveys. The diverse time frames will help us examine how temporal relationships evolve at different rhythms, and various informants will provide a more accurate ‘motion picture’ of each of our roles,” said González-Morales, whose early studies of work stress looked at interaction between coping styles and gender effects.
Unlike earlier static studies, the researchers will look at work and life roles over time. Does a negative workplace atmosphere become worse? How does a positive home environment affect this trajectory? Does a good workday improve participants’ moods at home? Does the relationship between daily work engagement and weekly life satisfaction strengthen when work is a central part of people’s lives?
González-Morales received a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, which supports early-stage research by individuals or teams for up to two years.
She is also recruiting participants to study how reflecting on work may affect well-being at work and at home. Along with international researchers, she plans to examine the influence of positive psychology interventions on individuals. So far, little empirical evidence exists to show that simple reflection exercises improve well-being at work.
“We are looking for full-time employees with office jobs and regular working hours to take part in the study, to help us answer the question of whether or not well-being, work-life balance and satisfaction can be enhanced by the daily use of simple, so-called happiness exercises in the workplace.”
More information is available on the Centre for Families, Work and Well-being website.
Prof. M. Gloria González-Morales
Department of Psychology
University of Guelph
519-824-4120, Ext. 52494
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