Summary of Findings from 1999 Survey

Findings from the second annual Survey of Ohio's Working Families show that Ohioans work at stressful jobs that affect their health. In addition, whereas others have examined how work impacts on family life, results shows that family obligations affect work, including a sizable minority of workers who miss work to care for elderly relatives.

The Survey of Ohio's Working Families annually questions a random sample of Ohioans about their work and family responsibilities. The survey is conducted by the University of Cincinnati's Kunz Center for the Study of Work and Family.

More than 500 Ohio parents responded to a questionnaire mailed in February 1999. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent.

Work Schedules

Similar to what we found in 1998 (to see a chart on work hours, click here), in 1999 Ohioans work long hours at their jobs, putting in an average of 42 hours per week. Among those who work extremely long hours, 56 percent of men (compared to 16 percent of women) report working more than 48 hours per week. Furthermore, a sizable minority of working parents (18 percent of men and 13 percent of women) said they worked more than one job, which increased by 11 hours their length of the average workweek.

Job Demands

In addition to long hours, the typical Ohioan works at a demanding job. About one-half of Ohioans either "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with the statement, "My job requires that I work very fast." Similarly, four out of five Ohioans said that their job required them to work hard (to see a chart on job demands, click here). Analyses of sub-groups showed little difference in the job demands placed on Ohioans. That is, job demands were uniformly high for managers and non-managers, and for the college-educated versus those without a college degree.

Job-Related Stress

Because Ohioans work long hours at demanding jobs, they show high levels of job-induced stress. About three-fourths of Ohioans either often or occasionally feel "burned out" by their jobs. A similarly high number of Ohioans report feeling emotionally drained by their work, or they "feel used up at the end of the workday." As expected, job-related stress among part-time workers is lower. (click here to see a chart on job-related stress.)

Home-to-Job Spillover

When people think of work and family conflict, it is usually in terms of how the job affects family life. Results from the 1998 survey showed that about four in ten Ohioans had missed an important event in their child's life because of work responsibilities (see the May 8, 1998 press release). In 1999, we find a similar percentage of Ohioans reporting that family responsibilities affects work. For example, 40% of men and 52% of women said that either "very/fairly often" or "occasionally" their family lives prevented them from taking on extra work. In addition, sizable numbers of men and women report that they are unable to concentrate on their work because of family demands (click here to see a chart on family-to-job spillover).

Summary

"The survey's findings capture a slice of the difficult times in which we now live," says David J. Maume Jr., UC sociologist, Kunz Center director and author of the Ohio study. "Working long hours at a fast pace, means that workers often go home with little left to give to their families," said Maume.

"We know from prior research that family demands are unrelenting, and this survey shows that those demands reduce the amount and quality of work done for an employer," according to Maume.

"This creates a vicious circle in which work demands produce stress in the family, and family problems limit the quality of work done for an employer. In the end, both families and employers are shortchanged when work demands become too great," said Maume.

Contact

Steve Carlton-Ford
Department of Sociology
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210378
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0378
Phone: (513) 556-4716
Fax: (513) 556-0057