Gender-specific patterns and determinants of spillover between work and family: The role of partner support in dual-earner couples
Keywords:partner support, work-family spillover, gender, parenthood
Objective: The study investigates how partner support affects different types of work-to-family and family-to-work conflicts in dual-earner couples divided by gender and parenthood.
Background: In Germany, as in other Western Countries, interrole conflicts between work and family increase, especially within dual-earner couples. Only few studies focused on the effects of partner support on different types of these conflicts.
Method: We use longitudinal data deriving from waves 6 to 10 of the German Family Panel (pairfam) to uncover the extent to which the perception of having a supportive partner reduces time- and strain-based work-to-family and family-to-work conflicts. We conduct longitudinal structural equation models based on information of 1,252 persons, which are full-time employed and live in a dual-earner relationship.
Results: Whereas for men partner support helps reduce stress-based work-to-family conflicts, for women perceived partner support is not beneﬁcial. Within a subsample of parents, the experience of work-to-family conflicts is likely irrespective of partner support. Overall, women’s family-to-work conflicts appear to be reduced by their partners’ support whereas for men this detrimental effect only applies in the case of stress-based family-to-work conflicts.
Conclusion: To sum up the findings, the differences for men and women in the effect of partner support on different types of interrole conflicts indicate a still existing impact of traditional gender norms that connect femininity to house work and masculinity to employed work.