Findings from Dr. Young’s studies help inform community-based initiatives in aiding families deal with the competing demands of work and family. Her research underscores how communities matter: The people in our communities serve as social support networks; the resources we can access help decrease the stress of daily demands. Parents and children benefit from these types of resources and supports. Dr. Young’s research helps underscore these processes, and the need for collective communities in combating the prevalence of distress amongst working parents today.
Dr. Young and her research collaborators have been working with various community partners in Canada and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to communicate their research initiatives, including The Canadian Mental Health Association, Mental Health International and the Centre for Research on Inner City Health (St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto).
THE WORK-FAMILY INTERFACE
Dr. Young’s primary area of expertise is the work-family interface. She has made significant contributions to work and family scholarship through previous and current studies that broadly focus on the unique combination of stressors between work and family and their health consequences for employed parents and children.
Dr. Young’s research has led advancements in our understanding of the work-family interface, including a study that was the 2016 winner of the Reuben Hill Award from the National Council on Family Research.
Her research has been published in top-ranking journals and show how the mental health consequences of work-family stressors depend upon other household situations, such as recent life events or economic hardship; and, document the strategies parents employ in the face of such stressors to avoid their pernicious outcomes.
FEATURED PUBLICATIONS ON THE WORK-FAMILY INTERFACE
The Work-Family Interface and Health
Dr. Young’s research speaks to Canadian’s mental health and work-family conflict experiences. The primary data source for these publications is a longitudinal study on which she has been actively involved since 2010 (The Canadian Work, Stress and Health Study, better known as the “CAN-WSH” study. The CAN-WSH is a landmark study on work, stress, and health in the Canadian context and comprises information on a nationally representative sample of Canadians across a myriad of work and family experiences (baseline N=~6,000). The study has received over $1.6 million in support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
Several of the publications Dr. Young has spear-headed or coauthored from the CAN-WSH uncover important insights regarding work-family conflict and the mental health and well-being of Canadians and their families. For example, her findings reveal the complex mental health consequences caused by modern working conditions, including work-related communications outside of regular work hours, work-family multitasking, and the social-psychological perception of work and family incompatibility among dual-earner parents.
ON THE WORK-FAMILY INTERFACE AND HEALTH
FAMILIES, COMMUNITY CONTEXT, AND WELL-BEING
Dr. Young has contributed significant theoretical and methodological innovations regarding the impact of neighbourhood context on mental health outcomes. Her work explores the psychosocial context of the community that informs our interpretation and reaction to day-to-day role demands.
Research on the neighbourhood context builds off Dr. Young’s doctoral thesis, entitled “The Impact of Neighbourhood Context on Work-Family Conflict and Psychological Distress,” which was funded by the Canadian Federal Government throughout the course of her doctoral training. Her research was published in a leading mental health journal and was nominated in 2014 for a Rosabeth Kanter Award for Excellence in Work-Family Research.
Dr. Young’s study examined key mechanisms of residential communities that impacted stressors and their mental health consequences using multiple individual, municipal, and census-level data sets.
Dr. Young’s research helps us understand the connection between community and the stressors parents—and children—face daily.
Her current work advances innovative approaches in data collection and analyses of community context and health. These efforts are particularly pronounced in Dr. Young’s current project, which aggregates publicly available data on “family-friendly community resources” (FFCR) at various time points. The FFCR project now has its own website >>
Dr. Young was awarded the 2017 Early Research Award from the Province of Ontario to carry out this project. She also received two Federal Research Grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to help support the project.
Preliminary findings from this project reflect previous studies she’s published showing residents living in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods experience greater work-family conflict due to the neighbourhood context; and the absence of community resources produces greater conflict for families with young children.
ON FAMILY, COMMUNITY CONTEXT, AND WELL-BEING
The Family-Friendly Community Resources Project for Better Balance, Health and Well-Being (FFCR) is a multi-year (2017-2021) Canada-wide study designed to better understand how work-family conflict influences quality of life for working Canadians. The project is led by Dr. Marisa Young (PI, McMaster University) and is funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR).
The FFCR research examines the long term health and well-being of Canadian individuals and their families. Work-family conflict (the competing demands parents often face between work and family) is a major contributor to poor quality of life, influencing factors such as mental health, martial instability, work absenteeism, and poor child development.