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Work-family Conflict, Stressful Working Conditions, and Health in the United States

a PSC Research Project [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]

Investigator:   Sarah Burgard

The goal of the proposed research is to explore the clustering of work-family conflict with other potentially harmful experiences on the job, and to examine how these exposures are related to subsequent health. Paid employment is a central feature of most adults’ lives, providing economic sustenance as well as a source of esteem and identity, but negative working conditions including job strain (high demands combined with low control), job insecurity and unemployment, and low job satisfaction have been linked to poor health. An emerging body of research suggests that work-family conflict may also have negative consequences for workers’ health and functioning in their multiple roles, but there is limited understanding of the joint distribution of work-family conflict and other negative working conditions, or of the ways they may intersect to influence well-being. A better understanding of the nature and extent of clustering of work-family conflict and negative employment experiences may help to explain why the health trajectories of initially socially-disadvantaged workers continue to diverge from those of their more-advantaged counterparts as they age. On the other hand, if work-family conflict is a greater burden for workers who don’t experience job strain or employment insecurity, for example, then it may actually reduce health disparities between socially advantaged and disadvantaged workers. Using nationally-representative samples of U.S. workers from the longitudinal Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL), Midlife in the United States (MIDUS), and Wisconsin Longitudinal (WLS) studies, I will explore the following specific aims: (1) explore the extent to which individuals experience the clustering of work-family conflict and other negative working conditions, and identify characteristics that put individuals at greatest risk of exposure, (2) assess whether and how joint exposure to work-family conflict and/or negative working conditions is related to trajectories of self-rated health, depressive symptoms, and sleep quality, (3) examine whether work-family conflict moderates the relationship between other negative working conditions and health, and (4) examine whether other negative working conditions moderate the association between work-family conflict and health. Workplace policy or interventions potentially could be more successful in protecting health if they recognized the total psychosocial burdens workers face, and the groups of workers who are most vulnerable.

Funding Period: 06/01/2009 to 06/01/2011

Country of Focus: USA

This PSC Archive record is displayed for historical reference.

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