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Work and home transitions: Tension

Topics: Couples, Family, Mental Health

Work and home transitions: Tension

PSP’s working schedules are not typical weekday, 9-5 schedules. This means that PSP couples and families have to work together to figure out household roles and responsibilities and make adjustments when the PSP is at work. Family members might have to take primary responsibility for household or parenting roles (e.g., extra-curriculars, medical appointments, homework help) while the PSP is on shift. Because of this, when PSP come home, there is a transition period where everyone has to “feel out” who is doing what. Also, because the PSP might feel pressure to keep work and family separate, PSP family members can feel frustrated by a lack of communication.

Because of the nature of PSP work, there are a lot of non-typical absences (see nonstandard schedules) and nonstandard re-entry times. This can result in changes in roles and routines depending on what shift a PSP is working. After working a series of long shifts, PSP may be off shift for a few days and take on more household and family responsibilities. However, open communication about who does what, when, and how is critical to avoid conflict.

Transitions for couples

Transitions for children

Children and youth can also experience transition tensions.

What can be done to support work and home transitions?

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References for this page (click to expand)

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Friese, K. M. (2020). Cuffed together: A study on how law enforcement work impacts the officer’s spouse. International Journal of Police Science & Management, 22(4), 407-418. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461355720962527  

Harrison, D., & Albanese, P. (2012). The “Parentification” phenomenon as applied to adolescents living through parental military deployments. Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse, 4(1), 1-27. https://doi.org/10.29173/cjfy16516  

King, D. B. (2013). Daily dynamics of stress in Canadian paramedics and their spouses. PhD Thesis retrieved from:  https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/24/items/1.0074017 

Regehr, C. (2005). Bringing the trauma home: Spouses of paramedics. Journal of Loss & Trauma, 10(2), 97-114. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325020590908812  

Thompson, A. J. (2012). Operational stress and the police marriage: A narrative study of police spouses. PhD Thesis retrieved from: https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/24/items/1.0073056 

Watkins, S. L., Shannon, M. A., Hurtado, D. A., Shea, S. A., & Bowles, N. P. (2021). Interactions between home, work, and sleep among firefighters. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 64(2), 137-148. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.23194 


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