When you are not in it yourself, it is difficult - A critical perspective on the meanings of work-related conditions for the interaction between prison officers' working life and family life

Claire Lange, Suien Do Carmo Høy & Emma Kristine Larsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis aims to identify the organizational conditions and emotional demands that prison officers’ experience in their profession and on this basis to examine how these work-related conditions challenge the officers’ interaction between work and family life.
The scientific theory in the study is based within critical realism, which aims to portray observable manifestations by achieving a more profound knowledge of the mechanisms and structures affecting the well-being of the officers.
The theoretical foundation of the research therefore rests on a critical scientific approach. The theoretical framework includes Arlie Hochschild's concepts about emotional labour and feeling rules in work and the influence on the prison officers’ private-I. Furthermore, Axel Honneth’s recognition theory is used to illustrate the importance of recognition for officers and their family life. To generate knowledge about the interaction between working life and family life, Ole Dreier’s concept of the social contexts of action is introduced.
The methodological approach in collecting the empirical data is individual semi-structured interviews of prison officers, their partners and one interview of the relevant trade union Fængselsforbundet. Furthermore, a field observation in a prison forms a part of the empirical data. The findings show that work-related conditions in the form of lack of recognition from management, forced relationships in prison and emotionally tied relationships within the family and between colleagues are important for the interaction between work and family.
Thus, in conclusion, the thesis finds that working as a prison officer is a challenging occupation due to its disruptive effect on family life, giving the partners of the officers a significant role of the officers’ well-being. This knowledge contributes to an insight into the need to integrate the role of the family in order to understand and develop the well-being of the prison officers.

EducationsHealth Promotion and Health Strategies, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) GraduatePsychology, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date3 Jun 2019
Number of pages115
SupervisorsNicole Thualagant & Charlotte Grum