Work Interference with Dinnertime as a Mediator and Moderator Between Work Hours and Work and Family Outcomes


  • Authors' Note: We thank International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) for providing the support and cooperation needed to collect the data used in this article. We also thank the Family Studies Center of the Brigham Young University (BYU) School of Family Life for its support of this project. Ideas expressed are the opinions of the authors, not necessarily of IBM or BYU. Jenet I. Jacob, PhD, is an assistant professor in the School of Family Life, BYU. Sarah Allen, PhD, is a research associate in the School of Family Life, BYU. E. Jeffrey Hill, PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Family Life, BYU and a research associate for IBM Global Workforce Diversity. Nicole L. Mead, MA, is a graduate of the School of Family Life, BYU. Maria Ferris is director of IBM Global Workforce Diversity.

concerning this article should be addressed to Jenet I. Jacob, School of Family Life, BYU, 2061 JFSB, Provo, UT 84602; e-mail:


Using a sample of U.S. IBM employees who are parents (N = 1,580), the authors evaluated whether work interference with dinnertime mediates and moderates the relationship between work hours and work, personal, and family outcomes. The negative relationships between work hours and success in personal life, relationships with spouse/partner and children, and the perception of an emotionally healthy workplace were mediated by work interference with dinnertime. The positive relationship between work hours and work—family conflict was partially mediated. Testing for interactions revealed evidence of the moderating effect of dinnertime and gender. These findings provide strong support for the potential role of dinnertime in reducing the negative work, personal, and family outcomes associated with long work hours and conflict in the work—family interface.