Investigating the work–family conflict and health link: Repetitive thought as a mechanism

Kelly D. Davis, Judith Gere, Martin J. Sliwinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Research is needed to investigate mechanisms linking work–family conflict to poor health in working adults. We took a novel approach to build on extant studies by testing a potential mechanism in these associations – repetitive thought. Data came from a sample of 203 partnered working adults. There were significant direct effects of work–family conflict with lower life satisfaction, positive affect, and perceived health as well as greater fatigue. As for total effects, work–family conflict was significantly associated with all health outcomes – life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, fatigue, perceived health, and chronic health conditions – in the expected directions through repetitive thought. This study provides support that repetitive thought is one potential mechanism of how work–family conflict can take a toll on psychological and physical health. Findings are discussed in relation to improving workplace policies to improve the health of working adults managing work–family conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-338
Number of pages9
JournalStress and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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