The ongoing use of this communications technology,
as compared to computer-based use such as email, is linked
to increased psychological distress and reduced family
satisfaction. For both men and women, cell phones allow
job worries to spill over into home life. But only women
also experience the opposite effect--the spillover of
home concerns into their work life. For women, both work
and family worries and responsibilities affected their
levels of distress and family satisfaction. The findings
suggest that, although technology may make everyone more
accessible, it does so with negative consequences.
The authors interviewed working couples over two time
periods, 1998-1999 and 2000-2001. Use of cell phones and
pagers in that two-year time period decreased family satisfaction
and increased distress, and negative work-to-family (for
men and women) and family-to-work (for women) spillover.
The author measured the participants' psychological distress;
she asked them to state how often in the past month they
felt feelings ranging from "in good spirits" to "everything
was an effort." Participants were also asked questions
such as whether they could turn to their family for help
and if they were satisfied with the support they receive.
"The question of 'blurred boundaries' may become an irrelevant
one for the next generation of workers, spouses, and parents
because they cannot imagine life any other way," the author
states. "Even so, worries about the implications for technology
users are not likely to disappear."
This study is published in the December issue of the
Journal of Marriage and Family. Media wishing to receive
a PDF of this article please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) has been one
of the leading research journals in the family field for
over 60 years. JMF features original research and theory,
research interpretation and reviews, and critical discussion
concerning all aspects of marriage, other forms of close
relationships, and families. It is published by the National
Council on Family Relations. Information about the National
Council on Family Relations can be found at www.ncfr.org.
Noelle Chesley is an assistant professor in the Sociology
Department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her
research focuses on the processes that link work and family
roles and the outcomes associated with the intersections
of these roles for contemporary workers and their families.
Dr. Chesley is available for media questions and interviews.
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