An exploration of social workers' perceptions of family well-being and the balance between work and family domains
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This study is a sub-study of the project entitled “A multi-disciplinary programme to enhance family well-being in different South African contexts: Phase one”. One of the objectives of the project is to explore and describe family well-being in different South African contexts. The aim of this study is to explore and describe social workers‟ perceptions (in general) of work-family balance and family well-being from a Positive Psychology standpoint. Research justifying this aim indicates that as a result of the numerous social, political, and economic challenges in South Africa in the last twenty years, both the work and social environments of South Africans have become more challenging and stressful. Families where both parents/guardians work, also known as dual earning/income families, are steadily increasing in order to provide financially for families and both men and women increasingly have responsibilities at home and at work. Furthermore, the development of technology encourages longer working hours and individuals often have to travel long distances to get to work. As a result of this, the boundaries between work and family can become unclear and individuals may find it challenging to balance these domains thereby endangering the institution of family. In order to promote a well-functioning society, individual- and family well-being, it is important to find and maintain a balance between work and family-life. Considering that social workers have responsibilities and/or knowledge in this regard and are trained to promote social change, to help with problem solving in human relationships, and empowerment and liberation of people in order to enhance well-being, social workers were identified as participants. In order to reach the aim of the study as identified above, a qualitative, narrative inquiry research design was used. A purposive or snowball/network sampling technique was implemented. 13 female social workers (n = 13) between the ages of 23 and 46 who work in different social work contexts across South Africa were included in the research. Data were collected by means of written narratives and analysed with the use of thematic analysis. The results describe social workers‟ perceptions of work-family balance; social workers‟ perceptions of how work-family balance can potentially contribute to family well-being; and strategies that social workers regard as effective to introduce to work-family balance that can potentially contribute to family well-being. The significance of the study lies in the fact that social workers‟ knowledge with regard to work-family balance and family well-being in their professional capacity contributes to our understanding and knowledge of work-family balance and has the potential to contribute to family well-being in a South African context. The findings can also contribute to the expansion of theoretical knowledge of work-family balance within a South African context and identifies strategies that may be effective in order to introduce work-family balance that could potentially contribute to family well-being.
- Humanities 
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