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The Effects of Social Support on Work–Family Enhancement and Work–Family Conflict in the Public Sector


Lori L. Wadsworth is an assistant professor in the Romney Institute of Public Management at Brigham Young University. Her research focuses on the relationship between the work and family domains. Her other research interests include social support, group interaction, ethics, and identity.

Bradley P. Owens recently completed his master of public administration degree at Brigham Young University. He is pursuing a doctorate in organizational behavior at the University of Washington Business School. His research interests include roles, work–family interaction, leadership, and positive organizational scholarship.


This study examines the impact of social support on work–family conflict and work–family enhancement. Data from 341 employees of public organizations showed that social support, especially from work sources, reduced the level of work interference with family, one direction of work–family conflict. In addition, all nonfamily sources of social support related positively to work enhancement of family, and all sources of social support, except that received from a supervisor, positively correlated with family enhancement of work. The strengths, limitations, and implications of the study are discussed, and areas for future research are recommended.