The impact of three dimensions of family life (home, work, and academic competence) on single-career and dual-career families: A case study in Java, Indonesia

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Norma J. Burgess


Family life, Academic competence, Single-career, Dual-career, Java, Indonesia

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


This study relies on family systems theory and examines the influence of three dimensions of family life (home, work, and academic competence) on the three different groups of families, dual-career families (e.g., husbands and independent wives) and single-career families (e.g., husbands). The main purpose of the study was to examine the differences among the three family groups in their conditions of family functioning (home life), in their levels of job performance (work life), and in their degrees of academic life (SDLR and GPA), as an indicator of similarity of experience in multi-dimensional family life as that of western families. The second was to examine the ways the three family groups established and maintained multidimensionality including the existence and the degree of interdependence among the dimensions.

Four hundred twenty-three employed-student husbands and employed-student wives of the three family groups from the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN) in five provinces throughout Java, Indonesia participated in the study. Each subject was administered the Self-Report Family Inventory (SFI), the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS), and an additional questionnaire about socio-demographic factors and their priorities on the three dimensions.

Findings indicate a significant difference among the three family groups along three family life dimensions (home life: F (2, 420) = 7.765, p < .01; work life: F (2, 420) = 7.380, p < .01; and academic achievement/GPA: F (2,420) = 5.042, p < .01). In addition, the specific models of family career development through a college study involvement constructed for each group were more likely to be accepted rather than the general one. This finding indicates that the impact of three dimensions on the three family groups was significantly varied. The ways they established (ideal) the three dimensions were similar (the calculated chi-square = 1.854, not significant at .05); whereas the ways they maintained (actual) the three dimensions were significantly different (the calculated Chi-square = 34.06, significant at .01). A number of significant correlations (p < .05) were noted involving interdependence among the three family life dimensions.

This was the first study to use the SFI and SDLRS together for Indonesian families as a study sample. As initial steps the researcher translated the SFI and SDLRS into the Indonesian language following a procedure suggested by the related references. A field test was also conducted for cross-cultural use of the instruments to the population.

Recommendations for future research include a broader study involving a larger population who hold jobs not only in government sectors but also in private sectors and who attend either an open or conventional university system; a trend study investigating the different changes on the three different period of the population (e.g., period prior to, period during, and period post of the three dimensions) would also be useful. A similar study utilizing a qualitative approach instead of a quantitative approach is also suggested. Recommendation for the government agencies (e.g., State Ministry for Population/BKKBN) is that study permissions for married employees should be examined by considering their family functioning (home life) and levels of job performance (work life). Both fundamental family life dimensions (home and work life) are expected to optimally support their academic life.


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