Title

Is Work-family Conflict a Multilevel Stressor Linking Job Conditions to Mental Health? Evidence from the Work, Family and Health Network

Publication Date

2015

Document Type

Book Chapter

Abstract

Purpose – Most research on the work conditions and family responsibilities associated with work-family conflict and other measures of mental health uses the individual employee as the unit of analysis. We argue that work conditions are both individual psychosocial assessments and objective characteristics of the proximal work environment, necessitating multilevel analyses of both individual- and team-level work conditions on mental health.

Methodology/approach – This study uses multilevel data on 748 high tech professionals in 120 teams to investigate relationships between team- and individual-level job conditions, work-family conflict, and four mental health outcomes (job satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, perceived stress, and psychological distress).

Findings – We find that work-to-family conflict is socially patterned across teams, as are job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion. Team-level job conditions predict team-level outcomes, while individuals’ perceptions of their job conditions are better predictors of individuals’ work-to-family conflict and mental health. Work-to-family conflict operates as a partial mediator between job demands and mental health outcomes.

Practical implications – Our findings suggest that organizational leaders concerned about presenteeism, sickness absences, and productivity would do well to focus on changing job conditions in ways that reduce job demands and work-to-family conflict in order to promote employees’ mental health.

Originality/value of the chapter – We show that both work-to-family conflict and job conditions can be fruitfully framed as team characteristics, shared appraisals held in common by team members. This challenges the framing of work-to-family conflict as a “private trouble” and provides support for work-to-family conflict as a structural mismatch grounded in the social and temporal organization of work.

Original Citation

Moen, P., Kaduk, A., Ernst Kossek, E., Hammer, L., Buxton, O.M., O’Donnell, E., Almeida, D., Fox, K., Tranby, E., Oakes, J.M., & Casper, L. (2015). Is Work-family Conflict a Multilevel Stressor Linking Job Conditions to Mental Health? Evidence from the Work, Family and Health Network. In S.K. Ammons & E.L. Kelly (Eds.), Work and Family in the New Economy (Research in the Sociology of Work, Volume 26), (pp. 177-217). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0277-283320150000026014