How busy are you in the course of a normal working day?
For many men and women in modern society, the pressure of meeting all the responsibilities at work and at home can be overwhelming. This is largely due to the role overload faced by working Americans who often find that there aren't enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. According to the role dynamics theory first proposed by Robert Kahn and his colleagues at the University of Michigan, every role that we assume puts unique pressures on us because of the expectations that we are expected to fulfill. Whether the role is being an employee, spouse, parent, homeowner, volunteer worker, etc., the psychological stress imposed by needing to carry out these roles, along with the guilt if our efforts don't measure up to what is expected of us, can often build up over time.
With working parents, for example, the role responsibilities of caring for a child can often come into conflict with responsibilities at work as well as other time demands. According to Kahn and his co-researchers, it is this total role overload which can lead to problems associated with chronic stress. How severe this overload can become often depends on the inner resources of the individual trying to meet these responsibilities as well as the kind of support they are receiving at home and at work.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.