The life role salience scales


Amacker said that "differences between the sexes have long been a subject of interest and discussion in society and, more recently, in the scientific community". Work and family are often-discussed and researched not only in psychology but also in other academic disciplines such as economics, sociology, politics, and religion. "The question of what makes men and women different has been even more controversial since the sexual revolution and women's movement" (Elise K.Amacker). Work occupies central role in life. It is evident that individual spends on time working and that the work role has more salience in comparison to other roles. Few researchers identified four functions of work in western societies, namely economic, social, social status and psychological. England and Harpaz (1999), suggest that Work has fundamental significance because it "generates economical and socio-psychological benefits and costs". In addition, these researchers also noted that Work has general significance because it is interrelated with other domains of life like marriage, family, and community services. Family is a collective body of persons who live together under one head. College students always give more importance to career and family of there life. Extensive research indicates that college men and women endorse both achievement goals such as career development and social goals such as marriage and having family. (Baber, Hammersla, Kaufman, Kerpelman).Studies suggest that college women often expect to give priority to both career and family roles (Hammersla, Hoffnung, Kerpelman, Livingston, Schroeder) and many college women have educational and career plans similar to those of college men. But contradicting to above study Men value career more than family and they are not ready to sacrifice their career for family and women value family more than career are willing to sacrifice their career for there family. Greehaus and Beutell (1985) theorized that the more important a role is to an individual, the more time and energy that person will invest in it, which will allow less time and energy for other roles. Super (1990) discussed participation, commitment, and values expectations in relation to life roles. Participation is the amount of time spent in a role, whereas commitment and values expectations reflect the importance of the role to the individual, and the degree to which the individual can meet their needs through that role (Super & Neville, 1986). Clearly, both women and men see the husband's job as essential to the economic well-being and survival of their future families and the wife's job as optional-a luxury they can choose to add on or take off at will. Most of the students come from fairly traditional homes-their mothers were responsible for cooking, doing the dishes, and cleaning the house while their fathers made money and fixed things around the house. Students say that mother took care of the kids and the house while father went out to work and earn money. Gender socialization continues to influence young people's identities and stereotypes from the past frame choices (e.g., Angrist & Almquist, 1975; Komarovsky, 1985; Machung, 1989) for students as they move into a society which, at least theoretically, permits equality of opportunities regardless of gender. Yet, participation of women in the work force has increased significantly and attitude surveys indicate that we are much more accepting of women taking active roles in our society (e.g. Mason & Lu, 1988). Nevertheless, women still face considerable occupational segregation (Blau & Ferber, 1985). This paper studies about the importance of career and family priorities of college students. There have been different researches done which studied career and family in different context like work -family conflicts, balancing multiple roles. The study done on work-family conflicts talks about work and family in different context when compared to that of the study done on balancing multiple roles. Study on work-family conflicts talks about work and family as a stress episode.

Theoretical basis:

There have been many theories which talk about career and family. The family systems theory is a theory introduced by Dr. Murray Bowen that suggests that individuals cannot be understood in isolation from one another, but rather as a part of their family, as the family is an emotional unit. Families are systems of interconnected and interdependent individuals, none of whom can be understood in isolation from the system. A family is a system in which each member had a role to play and rules to respect. Members of the system are expected to respond to each other in a certain way according to their role, which is determined by relationship agreements. Within the boundaries of the system, patterns develop as certain family member's behavior is caused by and causes other family member's behaviors in predictable ways. Maintaining the same pattern of behaviors within a system may lead to balance in the family system, but also to dysfunction. One of Super's greatest contributions to career development has been his emphasis of the role self-concept development plays. Super recognized that the self-concept changes and develops throughout people's lives as a result of experience. People successively refine their self-concept(s) over time and application to the world of work creates adaptation in their career choice. Although the career development theory provides a foundation for the professional work force its research has omitted women, people of color and the poor. With the changing work force and nature of work the theory has been called into question.


The hypothesis of present study states that men value career more than women do and women value family more than career. Other research around this topic examine the interrelations of achievement and family plans suggest that men see their future educational, work, and family roles as more closely integrated than do women and other study explored between- and within-gender differences in the importance of life roles and their implications for work-family conflict.



Participants were 72 undergraduate students enrolled in Loyola University New Orleans. Participants included both male and female undergraduates between the ages of 18 and 22. Participants were recruited through fliers on the Psychology Department bulletin board, campus emails, and personal approaches on campus. Materials Career and family priorities were measured by the Life Role Salience Scales (Amatea, Cross, Clark, & Bobby, 1986). The study was quasi-experimental design. Sample size is appropriate to test the reliability and validity. Most of researchers use LRSS to study the importance of career and family in their life but however the sample groups differ from one another and so do the results. One of the most important reasons behind the variation in results is the sample and the sample size. LRSS can also be conducted on different sample groups like women employed as full-timers, married couples.

Tools and instruments:

The instrument in this study was Life Role Salience Scale. The LRSS (Amatea et al., 1986) was used to assess participants' attribution of importance to work and family roles. The LRSS measures attribution of importance to four roles: work, spousal, parental, and housework a 40 - item inventory in which the participants rate their agreement (on a five-point Likert scale) with statements concerning role reward value and role commitment level regarding four major life roles: occupational, marital, parental, and homecare. The instrument in this study differs from that of Kristin M. Perrone. He used Life Role Congruence this instrument measures congruence between role participation and role commitment/valuing. Though the aim of these to studies where same they used two different scales to measure role commitment which would have been affected the outcomes.

Data collection:

Coalesce of data in undergraduate students is collected in form of self-report through a questionnaire. They obtained data from Loyola University New Orleans. This study limited its self to only one age group of individuals. Since the validity of this instrument was gathered from predominantly college students there is a need for additional research to establish the generalizability of the instrument to different population.


In this study the results advocate that the study was partially significant. Men value career more than women do, was examined. This was not supported by the results; between men and women there was no significant difference in occupation, marital, homecare. The only significant difference between men and women appeared in parental subset and overall family subset with women scoring higher than men. Women would regard family as more valuable and rewarding than their career role. This was supported by Comparison within women of the parental to occupational; there was no significant difference within women between the occupational subset and marital subset or overall family subset. Rachel.E.Sanders conducted similar study to that of present study. Rachel.E.Sanders hypothesized that whether men value career more than women do, in sanders study results where significant and men valued career more than women. Other hypothesis were supported this- women would regard family as more valuable and rewarding than their career role. This was supported by comparison within women of the parental to occupational; there was a significant difference within women between the occupational subset and marital subset or overall family subset.


This study was to determine whether or not men would value their careers more than women would value their careers. This study limited itself to college students. This study can also be conducted on working women and married couples which was not considered in this study. Variant dimension of results exists from each sampling group. Amacker study is conducted on ethical basis. Each participant was given a consent form that indicated that the study concerned social opinions, that the students were not required to participate, and that, if they did participate, they could withdraw from the study at any time without penalty. Participants were told to sign the consent form but not to put their names anywhere on the survey to ensure anonymity. After signing the consent forms and completing the survey, participants were debriefed and told that the true nature of the study was to examine the relationship between career and family life, particularly the differences in priorities between men and women. Participants were also advised that if they had any questions or comments later they could contact the researchers through the information listed on their copies of the consent form.


Women's achievement orientations are clearly not less than males. But women do not feel they must sacrifice their family roles to achieve the arenas of education and work. They anticipate that future family roles will be more important to them than males. Females perform well in academics than male they are likely to see themselves as less able than their male.The difference in self-perception is particularly perplexing. These findings support a traditional gender socialization model in which males and all things masculine are valued and females and all things feminine are devalued. Thus, for the future to be significantly different for young men and women today, we will not only have to change the structure of work to allow both men and women to better meet the needs of their families, but we will also have to challenge the definitions of gender ascribed to men and women in their roles as parents and workers. Until then, it appears that, as DiBenedetto and Title (1990) have suggested, women's plans for work and family will be interdependent, with preferences for work and children seen as trade-offs, whereas men will view work and family decisions as independent issues. Research on career and family has a room of expansion. The validity and reliability of the study can be increased by conducting this research to different age groups and different professions like married couples, working women.


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