Exploring the Links Between Women's Job and Family Emotion Work


*Direct all correspondence to: Amy S. Wharton, Sociology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4020.


Sociologists of emotion have examined the ways that workers are required to manage their emotions on the job, while studies of family emotion work reveal the effort involved in providing emotional support at home. Analyzing data collected from married or cohabiting women hospital workers, we examine the relations between women's job and family emotion work and the effects of both on women's job-related well-being. Consistent with “scarcity” views of women's emotional energy, we find that performance of family emotion work has negative consequences for women's job-related well-being. Consistent with “expansion” perspectives, however, women who perform some emotional labor on the job are more likely than other women to perform family emotion work. Our findings support a view that incorporates elements of both scarcity and expansion perspectives. We conclude that the job-related well-being of women hospital workers is less influenced by performance of emotional labor at work than it is by women's and their partners' involvement in family emotion work.