Gender role beliefs and fathers’ work-family conflict

Ann Hergatt Huffman, Kristine J. Olson, Thomas C. O’Gara, Eden B. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the part that gender roles play in fathers’ work-family experiences. The authors compared two models (gender role as a correlate and as a moderator) and hypothesized that gender role beliefs play an important factor related to fathers’ experiences of work-family conflict. Design/methodology/approach – Participants completed an online survey that consisted of questions related to work and family experiences. The final sample consisted of 264 employed, married fathers. Findings – Results showed a relationship between traditional gender role beliefs and number of hours spent at work and at home. Additionally, number of work hours was related to time-based work-to-family conflict, but not strain-based work-to-family conflict. The results supported the expectation that work hours mediate the relationship between a father’s traditional gender role beliefs and time-based work-to-family conflict. Research limitations/implications – Limitations of this study include the use cross-sectional and self-report data. Future research might want to expand the theoretical model to be more inclusive of fathers of more diverse demographic backgrounds, and assess the model with a longitudinal design. Practical implications – A key theoretical implication gleaned from the study is that work-family researchers should include the socially constructed variable of gender roles in their work-family research. Findings provide support for the contention that organizations need to ensure that mothers’ and fathers’ unique needs are being met through family-friendly programs. The authors provide suggestions for specific workplace strategies. Originality/value – This is one of the first studies that focussed on fathers’ experiences of the work-family interface. The results clarify that traditional gender role beliefs give rise to fathers’ gendered behaviors and ultimately work-family conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)774-793
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2 2014


  • Family demands
  • Fathers
  • Gender differences
  • Gender roles
  • Social roles
  • Work demands
  • Work-family conflict
  • Work-family issues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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