Family-friendly for her, longer hours for him: Actor-partner model linking work-family environment to work-family interference

Katie M. Lawson, Xiaoran Sun, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Supportive work-family environments are associated with lower levels of perceived work-to-family interference (WFI; Kelly et al., 2014), but we know little about the mechanisms underlying this linkage. Nor is much known about the larger family contexts within which these processes take place, including crossover effects of spouses' work on one another's WFI (Westman, 2001). This study utilized longitudinal data collected in home interviews with dual-earner couples to examine mechanisms through which a supportive work-family environment has implications for employees' and their spouses' WFI-with a focus on work demands, specifically hours and pressure, as potential mediators. Participants were married heterosexual couples (N = 194 dyads) with at least two children living at home; reflecting the demographics of their communities, they were almost all white and working/middle class. In separate home interviews wives and husbands reported on their work-family environment, work demands (work hours; work pressure) and their work-to-family interference one year later. Results of an Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model revealed that more supportive work-family environments predicted less WFI for both employees and their spouses. The mechanisms underlying this association, however, differed by employee gender and type of effect (spillover to the employee or crossover to the spouse). Work demands served as a mediator for wives' (but not husbands') spillover (but not crossover). Wives' supportive work-family environments, however, were associated with husbands working longer hours. Results suggest that supportive work-family environments may be particularly beneficial for dual-earner families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-452
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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