Good mental health despite work-family conflict? The within-domain and cross-domain buffering potentials of family and work resources
Keywords:work-to-family conflict, family-to-wok conflict, mental health, family resources, role strain, social support, buffering, work resources
Objective: This article investigates whether within-domain and cross-domain buffering by family and work resources can help mitigate the negative mental health effects of work-to-family conflicts (WFC) and family-to-work conflicts (FWC).
Background: Most literature on the work–life interface stresses the need to maintain employees’ health and well-being by preventing the emergence of work–family conflicts. Since such conflicts tend to be an unavoidable concomitant of role expansion, we aim to put forward the debate on the conditions that might prevent their negative health consequences instead.
Method: Fixed-effects linear regression analyses were applied to a sample of 4,920 employees in a three-wave employer–employee panel study in Germany. Using interaction analyses, we tested within-domain and cross-domain buffering of family (social support and relative bargaining power within partnerships) and work (job resources, support from direct supervisors or co-workers, formal and informal organizational support) resources in the relationship between strain-based and time-based WFC and FWC and mental health (SF-12).
Results: Family resources and work resources somewhat mitigated the health risks of WFC and FWC. Overall, within-domain resources were more effective than cross-domain ones.
Conclusion: It is important to consider resources in both the family and the work domains to determine the most effective ways of preventing the negative mental health consequences of work–family conflicts.