Understanding and Measuring Work/Family Integration

Activity Description:

Name of activity:  

Understanding and Measuring Work/Family Integration


To assess work-family integration


  1. Select a film and analyze it using concepts related to boundary/border theory and work-family integration. We suggest watching “Baby Boom” (1987) or “One Fine Day” (1996). There may be other films that you think are more suitable.
  2. When viewing these films, watch for many of the concepts discussed in the Boundary/Border Theory and Work-Family Integration entry to the Work-Family Encyclopedia. For example, ask students to comment on issues of work and family integration (including flexibility and permeability) versus segmentation, boundary crossing, role transitions and boundary work. You need to demonstrate how the concepts apply as well as demonstrate your understanding of the concepts.
  3. Have the students respond to questions, such as:
  • In the film, how do people manage the boundaries between work and family?
  • What kinds of recommendations would you make to the characters based on what you’ve learned about boundary/ border theory and work/family integration?

You can adapt the Work-Family Boundary Ambiguity Scale (Desrochers, 2002)† to assess the extent to which the characters in the film experience work-family ambiguity. The scale can also be used as a warm-up to get students to think about work and family.


The following questions are about the connections between your work life and your family life. Please use a 5 point scale, where 1 means you strongly disagree and 5 means you strongly agree. To score, you need to reverse the answer to item two, then add the three responses together.

How strongly would you disagree or agree that:

  1. It is often difficult to tell where your work life ends and your family life begins.
  2. In your life, there is a clear boundary between work and family.
  3. You tend to integrate your work and family duties.

[People who have a high score (12-15) experience a high level of integration.]

Desrochers, S. (2002). Measuring work-family boundary ambiguity: A proposed scale. Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center Working Paper #02-04.

Activity Source:

Content contributed by Stephan Desrochers and Leisa D. Sargent as a Suggested Work and Family Class Activity