Understanding childcare satisfaction and its effect on workplace outcomes: The convenience factor and the mediating role of work-family conflict


Correspondence should be addressed to Stephanie C. Payne, Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA (e-mail: scp@tamu.edu).


Building on Hobfoll's (1989, 2001) conservation of resources theory, we posit childcare is an essential resource to working parents. In addition to previously demonstrated childcare satisfaction (CCS) dimensions, we propose and demonstrate empirical support for a convenience dimension of CCS. Satisfaction with caregiver convenience refers to a parent's evaluation of the caregiver's location and availability. We hypothesize that time-related dimensions of CCS (caregiver dependability and convenience) relate to employee well-being and withdrawal, because they diminish time-based family interfering with work (FIW). We also propose quality-related CCS dimensions (caregiver attentiveness, communication, and cost) relate to psychological well-being, because they reduce strain-based FIW. Survey data from a sample of 316 university employees (faculty and staff) who were parents of under school-age children (infancy through preschool) revealed time-based FIW as an explanatory mechanism for the relationships between satisfaction with caregiver convenience and both turnover intentions and absenteeism (due to childcare issues). In addition, strain-based FIW mediated the effects of satisfaction with caregiver attentiveness on well-being and satisfaction with caregiver cost on well-being. This study expands previous research on CCS by demonstrating that CCS is related to important work outcomes in part because it reduces time- and strain-based FIW.