The Association between Work–Family Guilt and Pro- and Anti-Social Work Behavior


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Whitney Botsford Morgan, Department of Management, Marketing, and Business Administration, University of Houston-Downtown, One Main Street B-466, Houston, TX 77004 [e-mail:].


This article explores the behavioral outcomes of an understudied emotion, guilt, in the context of the work–family domain. Specifically, we propose that work–family guilt motivates both pro- and anti-social behaviors in the workplace. Working undergraduate students in the United States completed qualitative and quantitative indicators of behavioral responses to work–family guilt. Results demonstrated that when individuals experienced family-to-work guilt, they responded with helping behaviors directed toward individuals. When individuals experienced work-to-family guilt, they responded by shirking of work responsibilities. Thus, work–family guilt may be a critical and underexplored determinant of extrarole behaviors and an important emotion to manage in order to sustain career and care roles.