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A counselling psychology perspective on women's experience of holding multiple roles alongside partner work-related travel

Manera, Kerry (2017). A counselling psychology perspective on women's experience of holding multiple roles alongside partner work-related travel. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Family structures and career paths have changed significantly in the last 50 years, yet women still seem to shoulder the majority of domestic and childcare responsibilities, often alongside pursuing their own career. If women also have a partner who travels regularly overnight for work, research shows that roles and relationships are impacted. Very little UK research has focused on the experience of individuals and families affected by work-related travel (WRT), despite its increased prevalence in recent years.

A multi-perspectival Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was conducted to qualitatively explore a woman’s lived experience of holding the roles of parent, professional, and partner. Six women with preschool-age children, careers and a partner who travels regularly overnight for work participated in the study. Data was collected from semi-structured interviews incorporating open-ended questions and a visual prompt, and journals kept during one period when each participant’s partner was traveling. Three master themes emerged from the analysis, each with two to four subordinate themes describing the women’s experience of ongoing movement between engaging with uncertainties of their context and active choice-making, influenced by and influencing a conflicted self as it interacts with the external world.

Findings from the study have been considered alongside literature pertaining to WRT, holding multiple roles (for example Barnett and Hyde’s 2001 expansionist theory), and theories of gender, transition and development. Implications for Counselling Psychology and ready applicability of the findings are also discussed. In the spirit of IPA, my impact on the research has been held in mind reflexively throughout.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
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