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ECU researcher investigating the many roles of working mothers

Thursday, 26 August 2010

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Are you juggling caring for kids, looking after your elderly parents and maintaining a career? If yes, then why not be part of a comprehensive study being conducted by Edith Cowan University (ECU) entitled, ‘Role balance for working women with multigenerational caring responsibilities.’

Led by ECU PhD student Kiah Evans, the study will explore how working women manage caring for both their children and their parents with their working life, and the resulting impacts on health and wellbeing.

Information for this study is being collected through detailed case studies, which will involve each woman spending approximately four hours over a three week period completing a questionnaire, time diary and an interview.

Ms Evans hopes that recommendations can be developed to help women more effectively balance the three roles of worker, mother and parental carer.

“As a working mother I am acutely aware of the challenges of juggling paid work, studies, raising a toddler, managing a home and having a life.”

“I am interested in studying this topic, so that I can find out more about the specific strategies working women with dual caring responsibilities use to cope with their everyday lives,” said Ms Evans.

“I am also interested in finding out about the challenges they face that lead to role imbalance, so that I can identify strategies for these pitfalls to be avoided.”

Ms Evans hopes that by identifying these strategies, she can develop individual and group-training resources to help working women with multigenerational caring responsibilities balance their roles, and subsequently enjoy improved health and wellbeing.

Pilot study participant, Shirley, says the research helped her put the roles of both mother and carer into perspective.

“It was a very interesting exercise for me because it came at a time when I was feeling pretty low and not very useful as a person in a whole lot of roles. When I did the time diary I realised just how many things were going on at the same time and that I was actually managing quite a lot of factors. I think it was a very useful exercise.”

Fellow pilot study participant, Donna agrees.

“I think this is great research and I hope that it will benefit carers, because there’s a lot of work involved and there’s a lot of need out there for carers. I just hope that someone listens to the report.”

Women who meet the following criteria are being sought to participate in the study:

• Have at least one child under 18 years of age
• Help their parent (or parent-in-law) with any activity for at least one hour per week (for the past 6 months)
• Work at least 12 hours per week (either as an employee or in their own business)
• Live in the Perth metropolitan region

If you would like further information about this research study or would like to register to be a participant, please contact Kiah Evans (Occupational Therapist) on 6304 3653 or kevans5@our.ecu.edu.au.

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Media contact:

Corporate Communications
(08) 6304 2131
0402 016 344
pr@ecu.edu.au
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