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Work–family strain of employees with children with disabilities

Abraham Stefanidis (Department of Management, The Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University, New York, New York, USA)
Margaret E. King-Sears (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)
Lina Gilic (SUNY College at Old Westbury, Old Westbury, New York, USA)
Vasilis Strogilos (School of Education, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 24 August 2022

Issue publication date: 3 February 2023




The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between (1) employed parents' work–family conflict (WFC), (2) their children with disabilities' support needs, (3) their children's age, and (4) those parents' levels of school engagement.


Data were collected from 193 US parents of children with disabilities who completed a survey regarding work and family strain as well as school engagement. Descriptive statistical and correlational analyses were used, followed by moderated regression analysis.


Results indicate that higher levels of WFC have a negative impact on parents' school engagement. Similarly, children with disabilities' increased needs for parental support have a negative impact on school engagement. Moreover, the age of children with disabilities holds a moderating role in the relationship between support needs and school engagement.

Research limitations/implications

Human resource managers can acquire information regarding employed parents of children with disabilities' increased support needs and formalize flexible policies leading to supportive workplace cultures. School personnel can instigate a range of options that facilitate parents' school engagement, such as maximizing use of technology via virtual meetings and activities.


These innovative findings contribute to theoretical underpinnings in work and family strain research as well as conservation of resources theory, given the lack of previous empirical work specific to children with disabilities and their employed parents.



Stefanidis, A., King-Sears, M.E., Gilic, L. and Strogilos, V. (2023), "Work–family strain of employees with children with disabilities", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 18-37.



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