Gender, work-based support and family outcomes

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Abstract

Work-based support has effects on family outcomes (Thompson, Kirk, & Brown, Stress and Health, 2005, 21, 199–207), suggesting that the effects of work-based support are transmitted to the family environment through some mediating mechanism. This study examines two potential mediating mechanisms, emotional exhaustion and work interference with family (WIF). It was expected that women would report higher levels of work support, and work support would have a stronger relationship with outcomes for women. Gender as a moderator of the relationships between work support, and emotional exhaustion, WIF, and family environment (family cohesion, family conflict) was tested via regression analyses. Eighty-one males (43.3 per cent) and 106 females (56.7 per cent), and their spouse/partners participated in the study. Women reported higher levels of coworker support than men, and support from supervisors predicted WIF only for women. Gender did not moderate the work support—family environment relationship. WIF, but not emotional exhaustion, mediated the relationship between supervisor and coworker support, and employee reports of family cohesion. Spouse/partner reports of family environment were not predicted by the study variables. Thus, work support reduces employee negative perceptions of the family environment through reduced work–family stress, and the impact is similar for men and women. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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