Mental health is an important aspect of our lives, yet it is often something we take for granted until something goes wrong. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults experiences a mental health condition in any given year. Unfortunately, many people do not receive the treatment they need because of the stigma attached to mental illness. There are a number of factors that can affect mental health, including work to family conflict.
Though family conflict and mental health problems are closely related, they both play an important role in our lives. Therefore, it is very important to understand the link between them and how each one affects people’s mental health. Family life is a powerful predictor of human functioning as it encourages emotional development, social skills and influences behavior. Work-life on the other hand is another important aspect of our lives as it gives individuals a sense of occupation and structure.
Family and work-life balance is a major health issue that needs to be addressed. According to the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (JOEM), there is growing evidence suggesting that work-life conflict has an impact on various health outcomes, such as sleep quality, cardiovascular diseases, depression and obesity. That’s why work or family conflict and mental health are closely related because they both affect an individual’s daily life. In this blog post, we will explore the impact of family and work conflict on mental health and discuss some ways to address the issue.
In This Article
How do work and family conflict mental health?
Although work-family conflict and mental health have been researched for decades, the relationship between the two is still inconclusive. Work-family conflict was defined as “a form of inter role conflict in which role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible, or require tradeoffs to be made, with consequent distress and/or negative impact on performance.”
Work-family conflict and mental health divided into three categories work interference with family, family interference with work, and the overlap of work and family. According to psychological well being future research on the subject, psychologists can conclude that work-family conflict is associated with an individual’s mental health.
Moreover, work-family conflict and health behaviors are associated with the use of mental health services. As the demand for employees increases, so does job stress, which leads to higher levels of work-family conflict. The relationship between work-family conflict and mental illness is increasing because of work demands and increasing competition. Typically women are responsible for childcare duties at home but still have to go to work. The combination of these three factors has caused women to have a higher risk for mental illness than men.
However, family responsibilities make competing demands on the time of working men and women, leading to a higher prevalence of psychological distress. Sometimes job demands cannot be met, which creates a state of distress. In addition, the difference in mental illness between men and women is due to how modern societies view gender roles.
According to social norms, a man’s role is to work while a woman’s role is to take care of their home and children. When these two roles are not fulfilled it creates distress among individuals. As well poorer mental health leads to women showing more concern for family issues and less attention to their work performance. Family to work conflicts make it more difficult for the family to function correctly.
Despite the known negative impact of work-family conflict on job performance. Many studies have consistently demonstrated that work-family conflict is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and lower levels of happiness. This may be because people are more likely to ruminate about work, which can lead to psychological problems. Family to work conflict also affect physical health and well-being. The main mechanism of work-family conflict on mental health may be resentment which is rooted in the belief that one role has more value than another does, and therefore, should consume a person’s time completely.
What factors cause work-family conflicts?
Although the work and family responsibilities that individuals have are relatively similar. The way that these responsibilities affect their lives varies based on their specific job demands and social context. There are many factors that cause work-family conflicts and they are
1. Poor social support
Social support refers to an individual’s perception that their family and friends are supportive of their career or personal issues. Social support plays a role in the coping process when individuals work through problems with their family and reduce role overload by providing assistance to complete tasks at home. As well as home and family life is also responsible for reducing role overload at work. Sometimes job control and emotional exhaustion due to overload of work can lead to an individual’s mental health which affects their family life.
2. Inadequate resource
Inadequate resources, such as the amount of income and the amount of physical space available to them at home and work can be a factor that works alongside role overload. The impact of these factors is greater when individuals have insufficient resources. Sometimes gender differences can place a strain on women when trying to balance their work and home roles. Women who have limited resources, such as childcare options, feel more frustrated with work-family conflict because they perceive that their ability to successfully complete tasks in either area is compromised due to the lack of resources available to them.
3. Role overload
Role overload is one of the most influential factors in work-family conflict. Work-family conflicts can have a negative impact on individuals. It may lead to mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and guilt due to the feeling that they are unable to complete their tasks successfully in both areas. Role overload is when there are too many demands placed on an individual within their role, whether it is at home or at work.
4. Time squeeze
Time squeeze is when individuals experience conflicting demands with the amount of time available to them. For many, this struggle may come from attempting to balance both work and family roles at one time or another. In order for an individual to manage their time, they need to simplify tasks and delegate where possible. When working parents don’t have any help in terms of child care, their jobs will usually suffer in one way or another which in turn affects the family. Many health consequences can arise from this such as, hypertension and depression. In the work field employee health plays a key role in company success.
5. Unbalanced role distribution
Although work to family conflict and mental health issues are certainly on the rise, there have been some positive effects for working women. With more women joining the workforce, education levels increasing and more opportunities being available for women in all fields, the conflict between family and work is starting to even out. Unbalanced role distribution occurs when there is a disproportionate amount of work and family roles attributed to each individual. This type of conflict can cause resentment, distress and anger which leads to dysfunctional communication, poor problem-solving skills and ultimately an increase in mental health issues such as depression.
6. Interrole conflict
Interrole conflict is similar to role overload, in that it deals with the number of responsibilities one feels they have within their job and family. Interrole conflict exists when employees believe that they are unable to successfully complete their work duties due to the high volume of family demands or vice versa. This can be a result of a lack of control over employment tasks. In order to overcome inter role conflict, it is important for individuals to carefully consider whether the role high in conflict is essential to their overall happiness. However, employees can also learn to balance their work requirements with family responsibilities by delegating, simplifying tasks and utilizing resources provided by employers such as flexible work hours.
Why mental health is important?
Therefore, mental health is important because it is associated with important social and economic outcomes. Work and family stressors can impact both physical and mental health. The importance of mental health increases as work- or family demands increase. Workaholism is often associated with stress, which had an implication on the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), hypertension, obesity and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Apart from that, it had also been linked to an increased risk of burnout syndrome and psychosomatic symptoms, as well as alcohol and substance abuse. Below are points that elaborate why mental health is important and they are
1. Thinking more clearly
If your mental health is not good, then your brain function will not be optimal and your thinking process can become impaired. According to self-reported mental health, when people have mental health problems, they are more likely to report that these problems impair their thinking ability and their usual activities. Many occupational health professionals acknowledged that mental health problems can cause problems in both physical and mental aspects. If there is a conflict between the demands of work and family, it will definitely affect our thinking process.
2. Having a strong support system
Mental health helps you build a strong support system in your life. A person’s well being can be measured by how many people they have in their lives to support them. Having stable mental health will mean that you have positive relationships and the skills to make and maintain them. People with strong mental health are more likely to be in healthy relationships, maintain supportive friendships, and feel good about the people in their lives. They also experience less stress when faced with difficult interpersonal situations.
3. Taking self-care
Mental health is important because it helps you self-care. Mental health includes how you think, feel, and act toward yourself. If people have poor mental health, they may show signs of low self-esteem or self-confidence, lack of motivation to do things that are good for them, increased isolation and social withdrawal, and a lack of energy and joy. People with stable mental health also enjoy life more and feel content with their lives.
4. Avoiding substance abuse
Mental health helps you to avoid substance abuse. Mental health problems can sometimes lead people to use drugs or alcohol as a way to cope. For instance, if people were to experience depression, they may self-medicate by using drugs or alcohol. However, substance abuse can lead to even more mental health problems. This often leads to a vicious cycle of addiction and mental illness that is hard to break without proper help.
5. Increased life expectancy
People with mental health problems are less likely to take care of themselves and may miss out on opportunities for detecting conditions early in the disease process when they would be most treatable. People with severe mental illness die at an earlier age from physical illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes, suicide, liver disease and cancer, respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis, accidents and other injuries.
6. Having better health
Mental health helps you have overall better physical health. People who are in good mental health are more likely to have good physical health. When you are in a state of depression or anxiety, it can be very hard for you to make good decisions about your well being. For example, if you experience a lot of stress at work, you may neglect your physical health because all of the focus is on dealing with this workplace issue.
Therefore, work and family conflict can take a toll on our mental health, it is important to remember that there are ways to manage these stressors. By being proactive and seeking out support, we can reduce the impact that works and family conflict has on our well-being. The combination of work stress and family conflict can have a significant impact on mental health. In fact, nearly three-quarters (73%) of the people who experienced both reported that their stress increased as a result. This is an important reminder that it’s not just about managing your time between work and home life; you also need to take care of yourself too. We hope this information is useful for individuals who are experiencing work and family conflict. If you have any queries or concerns feel free to contact us through a comment below.