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Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

www.elsevier.com/locate/jvb

A meta-analytic review of workfamily conXict


and its antecedents
Kristin Byron

College of Business, Rochester Institute of Technology, 103 Lomb Memorial Drive,


Rochester, NY 14623, USA
Received 6 November 2003
Available online 2 March 2005

Abstract
This meta-analytic review combines the results of more than 60 studies to help determine
the relative eVects of work, nonwork, and demographic and individual factors on work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW). As expected, work factors
related more strongly to WIF, and some nonwork factors were more strongly related to FIW.
Demographic factors, such as an employees sex and marital status, tended to relate weakly to
WIF and FIW. Overall the analysis supports the notion that WIF and FIW have unique
antecedents, and therefore, may require diVerent interventions or solutions to prevent or
reduce their occurrence. Lastly, the analysis suggests that demographic variables, such as sex
and marital status, are alone poor predictors of workfamily conXict. Researchers are advised
to attend to more Wnely grained variables that may more fully capture employees likelihood of
experiencing workfamily conXict.
2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I thank Margaret LaSalle for help with coding the studies and Frank Schmidt and Allen HuVcutt for
their advice on calculations used in the analysis. I also thank Ross Rubenstein, Bill H. Bommer, Edward
W. Miles, Corinne Post, Tammy Allen, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Some of the results from this analysis were presented at the 2002 Southern Management Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia and at the 2004 Society of Industrial and Organizational
Psychologists Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

Fax: +1 585 475 4423.


E-mail address: kbyron@cob.rit.edu.

0001-8791/$ - see front matter 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2004.08.009

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K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Keywords: Work; Family; ConXict; Interference; Meta-analysis; Review

1. Introduction
The increase in dual-career couples and single-parent households and the concomitant decrease in traditional, single-earner families mean that responsibilities for
work, housework, and childcare are no longer conWned to traditional gender roles.
Increasingly, employees Wnd themselves struggling to juggle the competing demands
of work and family. The problems and issues encountered by employees taking part
in this balancing act has prompted a burgeoning body of research and theory on the
intersections of individuals work and family lives (e.g., Kossek, Noe, & DeMarr,
1999; Perrewe & Hochwarter, 2001). One of the most studied concepts in the work
family literature is workfamily conXict. Workfamily conXict, also called work
family interference, is a type of interrole conXict (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, &
Rosenthal, 1964) that occurs when the demands of work and family roles conXict.
Since the construct of workfamily conXict was introduced, a large body of literature has examined its causes and consequences. Recent meta-analyses have examined
the relation between workfamily conXict and its consequences, such as job and life
satisfaction, burnout, and absenteeism (Allen, Herst, Bruck, & Sutton, 2000; Kossek
& Ozeki, 1998, 1999). These meta-analyses underscore the potentially negative eVects
of workfamily conXict for individuals and their employing organizations. However,
among the published meta-analyses on workfamily conXict, only one has examined
a potential antecedent, job/work involvement (Kossek & Ozeki, 1999). No meta-analysis to date has comprehensively considered the myriad causes of workfamily conXict that have been examined in the literature.
In addition, the concept of workfamily conXict has changed over time. Increasingly, researchers have acknowledged the direction of interference (ODriscoll, Ilgen,
& Hildreth, 1992). That is, workfamily conXict is increasingly recognized as consisting of two distinct, though related, concepts, work interference with family (WIF)
and family interference with work (FIW). WIF (also termed work-to-family conXict)
occurs when work interferes with family life, and FIW (known also as family-towork conXict) occurs when family life interferes with work (Frone, Yardley, & Markel, 1997). Support for distinguishing these two concepts comes from several sources.
First, in their meta-analysis, Kossek and Ozeki (1998) reported consistent support for
distinguishing between the direction of workfamily conXict. Second, recent theory
and research on WIF and FIW suggests that these two concepts may have diVerent
causes and eVects (e.g., Frone, Russell, & Cooper, 1992a, 1992b; Kelloway, Gottlieb,
& Barham, 1999).
In summary, while the potentially harmful eVects of workfamily conXict are recognized, we know less about the causes of workfamily conXict and their relative
eVects on WIF and FIW. Consequently, a systematic review of the literature on
workfamily conXict antecedents is needed to explain the experience of workfamily
conXict in employees lives. The present study oVers such an analysis by providing a

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

171

quantitative review of potential antecedents and their relation to two types of work
family conXict, work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with
work (FIW).

2. Workfamily conXict and its antecedents


Researchers have considered a number of diVerent variables as possible antecedents of WIF and FIW. Consistent with Eby, Casper, Lockwood, Bordeaux, and Brinley (in press) classiWcation scheme for antecedents of workfamily conXict, the
previously researched antecedents can be classiWed into three categories: work
domain variables, nonwork domain variables, and individual and demographic variables. Work domain variables consider the eVect of job and workplace factors, such
as schedule Xexibility and job stress. Nonwork domain variables consider the family
demands and other nonwork factors, such as marital conXict, number of hours spent
on housework or childcare, and age of youngest child. Demographic or individual
variables include personality, behaviors, and other individual diVerences, such as sex,
income, and coping style.
While other theories about the intersection of work and family exist, the constructs of WIF and FIW have their roots in conXict theory. ConXict theory proposes
that work and family domains are incompatible due to their diVerent norms and
responsibilities (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). The diVering norms and responsibilities
of work and family cause intrusion and negative spillover of one domain on the
other. Consistent with research and theory on WIF and FIW, antecedents related to
diVerent domains may have diVerential eVects on WIF and FIW. Factors related to
an individuals job (work domain variables) are expected to be more related to WIF
than to FIW. For example, the more hours individuals spend at work, the more likely
it is that their work will interfere with their family life. Similarly, factors related to
individuals family and nonwork life (nonwork domain variables) are expected to
relate more to FIW than to WIF. For example, individuals with more supportive
families may experience less FIW, yet may not have less WIF. In contrast, individual
and demographic variables, such as sex or income, are expected to have equivalent
eVects on WIF and FIW because they may simultaneously inXuence both work and
nonwork. I propose the following hypotheses:
Hypothesis 1. Work-domain variables relate more to WIF than to FIW.
Hypothesis 2. Nonwork-domain variables relate more to FIW than to WIF.
Hypothesis 3. Demographic and individual variables have equivalent eVects on WIF
and FIW.
Research examining proposed antecedents of WIF and FIW has produced mixed
results. Therefore, when warranted, I consider several potential moderators of these
relationships. DiVerences in sampling strategies may explain some of the variation in
results between studies. For example, some studies enlisted only parents, whereas
others made no such restrictions. In addition, some studies sampled only women or

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K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

only men, whereas others had a mixed sex sample. I explore whether diVerences in
sample composition, such as the percentage of parents or females in them sample,
may moderate the relationship between antecedents and WIF and FIW. In the
studies used in the analysis, the percentage of parents ranged from 16 to 100 percent; and the percentage of females in the sample ranged from 0 to 100 percent.
Previous research and theory suggests that being female or having children may
explain diVerences in results across studies (e.g., Eagle, Icenogle, Maes, & Miles,
1998; VoydanoV, 2002). Therefore, the present analysis considers whether the percentage of females or the percentage of study participants with children explains
between-study variance.
In addition, other meta-analyses have reported that variation in how variables
are measured account for signiWcant diVerences in results across studies (e.g.,
Verquer, Beehr, & Wagner, 2003). Therefore, in the present analysis, I consider
whether variation in how antecedents were measured accounts for diVerences in
results between studies. For example, many studies examined whether having more
children related to more WIF or FIW. Among the studies considering this
relationship, study participants number of children was measured in diVerent
ways. Some asked participants how many children they had living at home, others
asked participants how many children they had (with no restrictions), and others
asked participants whether they had children or not. The diVerent methods of
measuring this and other proposed antecedents of WIF and FIW may account for
observed diVerences in Wndings between studies. Therefore, I explored whether
diVerences in measurement moderate the relationships between proposed antecedents and WIF and FIW.
Fig. 1 demonstrates the relationships examined in the present meta-analysis. The
solid lines represent relationships that are proposed to be stronger (i.e., of higher
magnitude) than those represented by dashed lines. Dotted lines represent relationships of undetermined magnitude, and curved lines represent the relationship
between WIF and FIW. It should be noted that the relationships represented in the
Wgure do not imply that alternate relationships are implausible. Rather, some of these
alternate relationships are mathematically equivalent and their plausibility is not
being rejected, e.g., family conXict may also be a consequence, rather than a cause, of
WIF and FIW. It should also be noted that more complex relationships than those
represented in Fig. 1 are similarly plausible. For example, family support may moderate the relationship between spousal employment and WIF or FIW. Unfortunately,
the data available to meta-analytic researchers can preclude the investigation of more
complex relationships. Therefore, this meta-analysis focuses on the factors that have
been identiWed in the literature as potential antecedents and their relationship to
WIF and FIW.
In the next sections, I describe the method for Wnding, selecting, and coding studies for the meta-analysis. Then, I specify the method for quantitatively cumulating
the results in the studies. In the following section, I present the results of the review
for each of the three categories of antecedents of WIF and FIW, and the relationship
of WIF and FIW. Lastly, I discuss the implications of the results of the meta-analysis
and provide suggestions for future research.

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

173

Fig. 1. Proposed relationships between variables in meta-analysis. Note. Solid lines represent direct relationships hypothesized to be stronger in magnitude than those represented by dashed lines. The dotted
lines represent relationships of undetermined magnitude, and curved lines represent correlation rather
than causation.

3. Method
3.1. Search strategy
I searched the computer database Psych-Info of the American Psychological
Association using the keywords work, family, conXict, and work, family, interference for articles published in academic journals, resulting in more than 500 studies.
After eliminating duplicates and studies that were not related to workfamily conXict
(e.g., those that were related to family conXict), the 243 remaining studies were
reviewed for possible inclusion. In addition, I searched the reference lists of three
recently published meta-analyses on workfamily conXict (Allen et al., 2000; Kossek
& Ozeki, 1998, 1999) and one review article (Swanson, 1992) to locate articles that

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K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

had not turned up in my computer database search. Lastly, I posted a message on the
general on-line forum on the Sloan Work and Family Research Network website,
and on the Workfam Newsgroup of the Work/Family Initiative at Pennsylvania
State University soliciting research on workfamily conXict. Because so few studies
that were not subsequently published were located, the present analysis is restricted
to published studies. There are several factors that should mitigate concern about
publication bias. First, many of the relationships included in the present analysis
were from studies that were not explicitly considering the relationships. For example,
most of the studies included in the meta-analysis of sex and workfamily conXict
were not explicitly considering this relationship. Second, I included two estimates of
the stability of each eVect size, (1) the number of studies needed to meaningfully
change the estimated eVect size and (2) 95% conWdence intervals of each eVect size.
3.2. Criteria for inclusion
For a study to be considered for inclusion, the study had to meet the following criteria:
1. WIF and FIW had to be quantitatively measured; qualitative studies of work
family conXict were eliminated.
2. The study had to report the relationship between a previously proposed antecedent and WIF and FIW or between WIF and FIW in a form that could be converted to a correlation. Studies that merely stated Wndings without providing
details of those results, or did not provide data in a usable form were eliminated.
3. Only studies published by 2002, and written in the English language were
included.
4. Only studies that examined both WIF and FIW were included to increase the conWdence that observed diVerences were due to diVerences in the relationship rather
than due to diVerences in samples.
5. When fewer than Wve studies could be located for a particular antecedent, the
antecedent was not examined. For example, antecedents such as supervisory
responsibilities, job type or level, child care satisfaction, and self-eYcacy were
excluded.
Because the formula used in meta-analysis assumes that the studies used are statistically independent, I avoided violating the assumption of independence of studies by
eliminating duplicate results from the same dataset. When more than one study used
the same sample, only one was included, when a sample was a subset of a larger sample, only the study that used the larger sample was included. However, when studies
using the same sample considered diVerent antecedents, each was included in its
respective analysis, but only the one with the larger sample was included when they
considered the same variable. In all, 61 studies met these criteria and were included in
the analysis. Some of these studies had multiple independent samples, which were
included as independent outcomes. Table 1 lists the studies by sample included in the
meta-analysis, their sample characteristics, and the measure of WIF and FIW used.

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

175

3.3. Coding of variables


When a study gave a range for the sample size, I recorded the lowest number.
Apparent typographical errors were clariWed with the studys lead author. To observe
the need for independence among studies, I averaged multiple time periods, and
multiple measures of FIW or WIF or the antecedent, which is consistent with other
meta-analyses of workfamily conXict (e.g., Allen et al., 2000). When provided, the reliability (internal consistency) for each measure was recorded. When it was not provided, the average reliability for that variable was inputted (except for measures that
were assumed to be perfectly reliable, e.g., sex and number of children). Table 2 details
how each of the antecedents were coded or measured in the studies used in the present
analysis. In addition, it includes the range of reliability (internal consistency) of the
measure used for each antecedent and the average reliability weighted by sample size.
To test for accuracy in coding, a quarter of the studies were randomly selected to
be coded twice. The interrater agreement between the two coders was calculated by
dividing the number of data points in agreement by the total number of data points
coded. The interrater agreement between the two coders was .99. The high level of
agreement between the two coders was likely due to the fact that most of the coding
in the present meta-analysis involved merely recording data and possibly applying
simple decision rules, and that both coders had prior experience coding studies for
meta-analysis.
3.4. Moderators
Several potential moderators were investigated to determine if they explained variation in the eVect sizes between studies. Two continuous moderators were considered, the percentage of females in the sample and the percentage of parents in the
sample. In addition, one categorical moderator was considered, the use of diVerent
coding schemes or measurement of antecedent variables. For example, most studies
coded spousal employment as a dichotomous variable (i.e., a spouse was either
employed or not); whereas three studies each used a diVerent coding scheme (e.g.,
trichotomized or number of hours spouse works). When diVerent coding schemes
were used, studies that used similar coding schemes were grouped and analyzed. I
analyzed sub-group analyses with Wve or more studies only. In addition, some antecedents were operationalized diVerently across studies (see Table 2). For example,
some studies used measures of overall job stress, which often combined role ambiguity and role overload, whereas other studies measured only role overload. When a
particular antecedent was measured using diVerent constructs, I conducted subgroup analyses for each diVerent construct when there were more than Wve studies for
a given construct. All moderators were coded by recording the sample characteristics
of each study (i.e., percentage of females in sample and percentage of parents in sample) and information about the types of measures used in each study (e.g., whether
the measure was continuous or categorical). Nearly all studies were conducted in the
US or Canada (as shown in Table 1), therefore, the country in which the study was
conducted could not be considered as a potential moderator.

176

Table 1
Summary of studies and their characteristics
Author(s) and Publication year/sample characteristics

FIW measure

Country

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

490

US

Kopelman, Greenhaus, and


Connolly (1983; 4)

Burley (1989; 5)

146

US

Gutek, Searle, and Klepa (1991; 4)

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

320

Hong Kong

Netemeyer, Boles, and McMurrian


(1996; 5)

Netemeyer et al. (1996; 5)

243

Hong Kong

*Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

*Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

141

Canada

Kopelman et al. (1983; 6)

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

177

US

Netemeyer et al. (1996; 5)

Netemeyer et al. (1996; 5)

144

US

Netemeyer et al. (1996; 5)

Netemeyer et al. (1996; 5)

691

New Zealand

Carlson, Kacmar, and Williams


(2000; 9)

Carlson et al. (2000; 9)

160

US

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Burley (1989; 4)

527

Canada

Gutek et al. (1991); Frone et al.


(1992a,1992b; 5)

Gutek et al. (1991); Frone et al.


(1992a,1992b; 5)

314

US

Carlson et al. (2000; 9)

Carlson et al. (2000; 9)

225

US

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Burley (1989; 4)

143

US

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Adams and Jex (1999)


Part-time university students
Adams, King, and King (1996)
Varied professions, full-time and living
with a family member
Aryee, Fields, et al. (1999)
Varied professions
Aryee, Luk, Leung, and Lo (1999)
Public sector and university employees, parents in
dual-earner families
Barling, MacEwen, Kelloway, and
Higginbottom (1994)
University employees
Beutell and Witting-Berman (1999)
Varied professions, married, and employed
Boles, Howard, and Donofrio (2001)
Probation and parole oYcers
Brough and Kelling (2002)
Varied professions
Bruck, Allen, and Spector (2002)
Hospital employees, married or living
with partner or child
Burke and Greenglass (2001)
Registered nurses
Carlson and Kacmar (2000)
State government employees,
married or with children
Carlson et al. (2000)
Varied; employed full-time
Casper, Martin, BuVardi, and Erdwins (2002)
Female employees with preschool-aged child

WIF measure

Frone (2000)
National Commorbidity Survey, employed and
married or parent of child under 18
Frone, Russell, and Barnes (1996)
Longitudinal follow-up (Erie County, NY), Wave 2
Longitudinal follow-up (BuValo, NY), Wave 3
Frone et al. (1992a)
Longitudinal follow-up (Erie County, NY),
employed and married or with child at home
Frone et al. (1997)
Varied professions, married or with children living
at home
Fu and ShaVer (2001)
University employees

Gutek et al. (1991); Self-developed;


7

Gutek et al. (1991); Self-developed;


7

213

Israel

Shamir (1983; 6)

Kirchmeyer (1993; 8)

227

Canada

Bohen and Viveros-Long (1981; 4)

Bohen and Viveros-Long (1981; 5)

1989

Canada

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); Wiley (1987); 11

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); Wiley (1987); 13

318

US

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); Wiley (1987); 11

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); Wiley (1987); 13

493

US

Self-developed; 2

Self-developed; 2

113

US

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); 6

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); 6

252

Canada

Self-developed; 2

Self-developed; 2

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)


Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

2700

US

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)


Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

496
605

US
US

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

631

US

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); 6

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b); Gutek


et al. (1991); 6

372

Canada

Carlson et al. (2000; 9)

Carlson et al. (2000; 9)

267

Hong Kong

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Cinamon and Rich (2002)


Lawyers and employees in computer or software
Weld, married
Cohen and Kirchmeyer (1995)
Nurses
Duxbury et al. (1994)
Varied professions, parents of child age 612
Eagle et al. (1998)
Varied professions, employed full-time, married or
living with child
Eagle, Miles, and Icenogle (1997)
University employees (married or with children at
home)
Fox and Dwyer (1999)
Registered nurses
Frone and Yardley (1996)
Financial services company employees

(continued on next page)

177

178

Table 1 (continued)
WIF measure

FIW measure

Country

Gutek et al. (1994; 4)

Gutek et al. (1994; 4)

659

Canada

Kopelman et al. (1983; 6)

Self-developed; 5

132

US

Greenhaus and Beutell (1985; 9)

DNR; 4

199

US

Self-developed; 4

Self-developed; 4

1986

US

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)


Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Burley (1989; 4)
Burley (1989; 4)

423
176

US
US

*Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

*Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Bohen and Viveros-Long (1981; 4)

Bohen and Viveros-Long (1981;


8)

Self-developed; 8

Self-developed; 6

429

US

Self-developed; 8

Self-developed; 6

522

US

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

515

US

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

1062

US

Self-developed; 11

Self-developed; 11

236

Canada

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2); Brett


and Yogev (1985); 3

Frone et al. (1992a, 1992b);


Brett and Yogev (1985); 3

501

Finland

17

Canada

3616

Canada

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Author(s) and Publication year/sample characteristics


Gignac, Kelloway, and Gottlieb (1996)
Work and family survey, employees caring for
elderly relative
Grandey and Cropanzano (1999)
University faculty
Greenhaus, Parasuraman, and Collins (2001)
Public accountants, married and with one or more
children
Grzywacz and Marks (2000)
National Survey of Midlife Development
Gutek et al. (1991)
Psychologists
Senior managers in executive education
Hepburn and Barling (1996)
University employees
Higgins, Duxbury, and Lee (1994)
Federal and private-sector employees, married with
children
Hughes and Galinsky (1994)
Married employees of large corporation
Hughes, Galinsky, and Morris (1992)
Pharmaceutical company employees
Jex and Elacqua (1999)
Varied professions, employed students
Judge, Boudreau, and Bretz (1994)
Male executives from search Wrm database
Kelloway et al. (1999)
Healthcare and grocery organizations employees
Kinnunen and Mauno (1998)
Public sector, manufacturing, and home market
employees

Kirchmeyer and Cohen (1999)


School teachers, administrators, and staV

MacEwen and Barling (1994)


Police, employed full-time, married, and with child
at home
Mallard and Lance (1998)
Federal employees with children living at home
Marks (1998)
Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, varied; full- or parttime employees
Matsui, Ohsawa, and Onglatco (1995)
Employees at reWnery, advertising and HR
consulting companies
McManus, Korabik, Rosin, and Kelloway (2002)
Healthcare and grocery employees, married or
single mothers
Accountants, engineers, and banking and
telecommunications employees, married or single
mothers
Netemeyer et al. (1996)
Teachers
Small business owners
Real estate agents

Kirchmeyer (1993; 8)

200

Canada

Self-developed; 3

Self-developed; 3

573

US

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

490

US

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Burley (1989; 4)

151

Canada

Thompson (1985); Wiley (1987);


Self-developed; 18

Self-developed; 12

156

US

Kopelman et al. (1983; 8)

Kopelman et al. (1983; 8)

Self-developed; 17

Self-developed; 15

143

US

Self-developed; 3

Self-developed; 4

5782

US

Self-developed; 5

Self-developed; 5

131

Japan

Gottlieb, Kelloway, and Barham


(1998; 11)
Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

Gottlieb et al. (1998; 11)

178

Canada

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

72

Canada

Self-developed; 22
Self-developed; 22
Self-developed; 22

Self-developed; 21
Self-developed; 21
Self-developed; 21

40

182
162
186

Canada

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Klitzman, House, Israel, and Mero (1990)


Manufacturing company employees
Kossek, Colquitt, and Noe (2001)
University employees
Leiter and Durup (1996)
Hospital employees with families
Loerch, Russell, and Rush (1989)
University support staV and administrators

Shamir (1983; 6)

US
US
US

(continued on next page)


179

180

Table 1 (continued)
Author(s) and Publication year/sample characteristics

ShaVer, Harrison, Gilley, and Luk (2001)


Married international assignees, varied professions
Shannon et al. (2001)
Hospital employees
Stoeva, Chiu, and Greenhaus (2002)
Senior civil servants
Thompson and Blau (1993)
Varied professions
Van der Hulst and Guerts (2001)
Postal service employees
Vinokur, Pierce, and Buck (1999)
Females who served in air force
Wiley (1987)
MBA students and graduate students enrolled in
evening classes
Williams and Alliger (1994)
Full-time employees

WIF measure

FIW measure

Country

Gutek et al. (1991); Frone et al.


(1992a, 1992b); 5

Gutek et al. (1991); Frone et al.


(1992a, 1992b); 5

272

US

Self-developed; 7

Self-developed; 7

121

US

Kopelman, et al. (1983; 6)

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

111

US

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

Gutek et al. (1991; 4)

263

US

Gutek et al. (1991; 3)

Gutek et al. (1991; 3)

324

Varied

DNR; 3

DNR; 4

327

Canada

Kopelman et al. (1983; 4)

Burley (1991; 4)

147

Hong Kong

*Burke, Weir, and DuWor (1979;


DNR)

*Burke et al. (1979; DNR)

234

US

Geurts (2000; 9)

Geurts (2000; 6)

751

Netherlands

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

Frone et al. (1992a,1992b; 2)

525

US

Wiley (1987; DNR)

Wiley (1987; DNR)

191

US

Gutek et al. (1991; 3)

Gutek et al. (1991; 3)

41

US

Note. Measures of WIF and FIW indicate source of scale and number of items; *indicates that scale used in study was an adaptation. DNR, did not report.

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Nielson, Carlson, and Lankau (2001)


Undergraduate business graduates, married or
living with child
ODriscoll et al. (1992)
Varied professions, working at least 20 h/week
Parasuraman, Purohit, Godshalk, and Beutell (1996)
Business owners
Perrewe, Hochwarter, and Kiewtiz (1999)
Hotel managers

Table 2
Summary of measures used for antecedent variables
Antecedent
Work variables
Job involvement
Hours spent at work

Schedule Xexibility
Job stress
Nonwork variables
Family/nonwork involvement
Hours of nonwork
Family support
Family stress
Family conXict
Number of children

Age of youngest child


Marital status
Spousal employment
Demographic/individual variables
Sex
Income
Coping style and skills

Items

Reliability (weighted reliability)

Categories

Work involvement; Job involvement


Number of hours worked; hours worked outside
the normal work week (e.g., working on weekends or at
night or traveling for business)
Supervisor support; organizational support;
co-worker support; mentor support
Schedule (in)Xexibility
Job stress; role stress; role conXict; role
ambiguity; role overload; Psychological demands

410
1

.63.90 (.81)
N/A

25; #

335

.73.94 (.83)

17
352

.52.68 (.58)
.67.89 (.79)

Family involvement; child care involvement;


household involvement
Hours spent on family; hours spent on housework;
percentage of time spent parenting
Family support; spouse support (instrumental and
emotional support)
Role stress; role conXict; role ambiguity; role overload
Marital conXict; parental conXict; marital tension;
relationship agreement; marital anger
Number of children; number of family dependents; number of
children living at home; number of children under a
particular age; have children or not
Age of youngest child
Marital status (married coded higher)
Spousal employment; number of hours spouse works

211

.60.92 (.82)

N/A

4, #

244

.75.95 (.87)

49
519

.66.83 (.76)
.77.87 (.80)

N/A

24; #

1
1
1

N/A
N/A
N/A

35; #
2
23; #

1
1
533

N/A
N/A
.73.83 (.79)

2
322; #

181

Sex (female coded higher)


Personal income; family income
Active coping style; time management
behaviors; personal coping style

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Work support

Measures

182

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

3.5. Analysis strategy


For the meta-analysis, I calculated eVect sizes with the Hunter and Schmidt (1995)
meta-analytic method, which provides the most accurate method of estimating population eVect sizes from heterogeneous eVect sizes (Field, 2001). To estimate the population eVect size, I calculated a frequency weighted mean eVect size (corrected for
measurement error, when applicable). Before proceeding, I determined whether there
were outliers in each analysis by calculating the sample-adjusted meta-analytic deviancy statistic (SAMD) and inspecting the plot of SAMDs for each relationship analyzed (HuVcutt & Arthur, 1995). A study was removed from the analysis for a
particular antecedent when a study was identiWed as an outlier for both WIF and
FIW. One antecedent, job insecurity, was not further analyzed because there were too
few studies (k < 5) remaining after removing outlier studies. For the remaining
relationships considered, I continued the analysis after removing any outliers by
assessing the stability of the estimated population eVect size by inspecting its modiWed fail-safe N (MFN) (HuVcutt, Roberts, & Steel, 2004) and by inspecting its 95%
conWdence interval. The MFN for each eVect size indicates the number of additional
studies (not additional subjects) with results diVering by two standard deviations that
would need to be discovered to eVect a meaningful change (deWned as plus or minus
.10 based on Cohens (1998) framework for evaluating eVect sizes) in the estimated
eVect size.
In addition, I subjected each analysis to two tests of homogeneity to determine
how diVerent the results for each analysis are. First, I examined the percentage of variance explained by artifacts. Possible moderators were investigated if the percentage
of variance explained was less than 60%. The use of a lower threshold when eVect
sizes are only corrected for reliability is consistent with Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch,
and Topolnytsky (2002). Second, I inspected the range of the 90% credibility interval
to determine if zero was included, which may indicate that moderators are present
(Whitener, 1990).
To test the moderating eVects of continuous variables, I Wt a series of weighted
least-square regression models for each eVect size and moderator, weighted by the
inverse variance of each eVect size (Callendar & Osburn, 1988; Hedges & Olkin, 1985;
Sanchez-Meca & Marin-Martinez, 1998), which provides the most accurate results
for testing continuous moderators in meta-analysis (Steel & Kammeyer-Mueller,
2002). The correlations were transformed to Fishers Z, and the inverse sampling
error variance was estimated by the sample size for each study minus three (Callendar & Osburn, 1988; Steel & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2002). To test the signiWcance of
moderators, I calculated ZHO, the unstandardized regression coeYcient divided by
the corrected standard error (Hedges, 1994; Sanchez-Meca & Marin-Martinez, 1998),
and determined whether it exceeded the critical value. I included studies that were
previously identiWed as potential outliers because it was possible that the aberrant
results were due to diVerences in sample composition.
To test the moderating eVects of categorical variables, I split the group into
subgroups based on the categorical moderator and conducted a separate meta-analysis on each subgroup. However, in some of the analyses, there was no comparison

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

183

sub-group because the coding schemes in the remaining studies were all diVerent or
because the sub-group contained too few studies. The percent of variance explained
by artifacts for the subgroup(s) was compared to the percent of variance
explained by artifacts for the overall group analysis to determine if the moderator
explained some between-study variation.

4. Results
Meta-analytic results of correlations between work interference with family and
family interference with work and the proposed antecedent variables are presented in
Table 3. As anticipated, all work variables had a greater impact on WIF than on FIW
in the expected direction. For all of the six work variables, the relationship between
WIF and the work-related antecedent was of greater magnitude than the relationship
between the antecedent and FIW, and the 95% conWdence (not credibility) intervals
did not signiWcantly overlap. Employees who have higher job involvement or job
stress, or spend more time at work have more WIF than FIW, and employees who
have less supportive co-workers or supervisors or less Xexible schedules have more
WIF than FIW. Among work variables, job stress ( D .48) and schedule Xexibility
( D .30) were most strongly correlated with WIF. Employees who have more job
stress have more WIF, and those with more Xexible job schedules have less WIF.
Contrary to expectations, the correlations between nonwork variables and FIW (as
compared to WIF) did not have consistently stronger relationships in the expected
direction. Several of the nonwork variables showed similar relationships to WIF and
FIW. The 95% conWdence intervals for the estimated population eVect sizes for family/
nonwork involvement, family support, family conXict, age of youngest child, and
spousal employment overlapped in their relationships to WIF and FIW. The remaining four nonwork variables, hours of nonwork, family stress, number of children, and
marital status, demonstrated a pattern that was consistent with expectations. The
more hours spent on family, housework, childcare or other nonwork-related activities,
the more FIW experienced ( D .21), but not signiWcantly more WIF, as indicated by
95% conWdence interval that included zero ( D .02, 95% CI: .06/+.02). In addition,
employees who experienced more family-related stress experienced more FIW ( D .47,
95% CI: +.44/+.50) than WIF ( D .30, 95% CI: +.27/+.33). Employees with more children or who were single had more FIW ( D .16, 95% CI: +.14/+.17, and  D .05, 95%
CI: .07/.03; respectively) than WIF ( D .09, 95% CI: +.07/+.11, and  D .03, 95%
CI: +.01/+.05; respectively). Among all nonwork variables, family stress ( D .47) and
family conXict ( D .32) were most strongly related to FIW. Employees who had more
stress and more conXict at home had more family interference with work.
Demographic and individual antecedent variables were expected to have equivalent eVects on WIF and FIW. To determine the extent to which the variables have
similar relationships to WIF and FIW, I inspected the 95% conWdence intervals of
the estimated population eVect sizes for each demographic variable and its
relationship to WIF and FIW. Of the demographic and individual variables, only
one, coping style and skills, tended to have a similar relationship to both WIF and

184

Work interference with family (WIF)

Family interference with work (FIW)

SDO

SD

95% CI

MFN

SDO

SD

95% CI

MFN

Work variables
Job involvement
Hours spent at work
Continuous only
Work support
Schedule Xexibility
Job stress
Overall stress only
Role overload only

10
22
18
17
8
19
7
10

2766
9527
8092
4165
2620
7034
3183
4402

.14
.26b
.27b
.19b
.30
.48b
.48b
.65b

.15
.12
.10
.09
.26
.13
.07
.16

.14
.11
.09
.07
.26
.12
.07
.16

+.11/+.18
+.24/+.27
+.25/+.29
.22/.16
.34/.27
+.46/+.49
+.46/+.51
+.63/+.67

5
17
18
21
2
12
15
5

.07
.01
.01
.12b
.17
.29b
.29b
.40b

.11
.07
.07
.11
.14
.12
.10
.18

.09
.05
.05
.09
.13
.11
.09
.18

+.03/+.10
.01/+.03
.02/+.03
.15/.09
.21/.13
+.27/+.31
+.26/+.32
+.38/+.42

9
75
60
15
4
15
8
4

Nonwork variables
Family/nonwork involvement
Hours of nonwork
Continuous only
Family support
Family stress
Overall stress only

9
10
9
14
8
5

2741
2875
2764
2886
2937
2008

.02
.02
.01a
.11b
.30b
.32

.08
.09
.07
.10
.13
.12

.05
.07
.04
.07
.12
.11

.07/+.00
.06/+.02
.04/+.03
.14/.07
+.27/+.33
+.28/+.36

18
13
26
14
5
4

.02
.21b
.21b
.17b
.47b
.49

.15
.14
.14
.13
.18
.20

.14
.12
.13
.11
.18
.19

.05/+.02
+.17/+.24
+.17/+.24
.21/.14
+.44/+.50
+.46/+.52

5
6
5
10
3
2

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Table 3
Work, nonwork, and demographic antecedents of WIF and FIW

8
27
8
15
9
14
9
6

1674
10,467
2557
6700
7303
9378
4358
3413

.35b
.09
. 05
.08b
.17 a,b
.03
.01a,b
.01a

.10
.12
.12
.08
.04
.10
.05
.05

.07
.11
.11
.06
.02
.09
.00
.03

+.31/+.40
+.07/+.11
+.01/+.09
+.06/+.11
.20/.15
+.01/+.05
.02/+.04
.04/+.03

9
21
6
28
N/Ad
14
189
299

.32b
.16b
.17b
.15b
.22b
.05
.03
.02

.16
.12
.12
.12
.08
.08
.10
.09

.15
.11
.11
.11
.07
.07
.09
.08

+.28/+.36
+.14/+.17
+.13/+.21
+.13/+.18
.24/.19
.07/.03
+.00/+.06
.02/+.05

4
19
6
11
16
25
10
7

Demographic variables
Sex
Income
Coping style and skills

27
13
6

18,125
7046
2002

.03
.10b
.12a,b

.11
.08
.03

.10
.07
.00

.04/.01
+.08/+.12
.16/.08

24
22
14

.06
.00
.15b

.12
.08
.11

.11
.07
.10

+.04/+.07
.03/+.02
.19/.10

21
21
5

Note. WIF, Work interference with family; FIW, Family interference with work; k, number of independent samples included in each analysis; N, combined
sample sizes of studies included in each analysis; , weighted average corrected correlation; SDO, observed standard deviation of corrected correlation; SD,
estimated true/population standard deviation of corrected correlation; 95% CI, 95% conWdence interval, MFN, modiWed fail-safe N (indicates the number of
additional studies needed to cause a meaningful change in the estimated population eVect size).
a
More than 60% of the observed variance is accounted for by sampling error.
b
Zero is not included in the 90% credibility interval.
c
Number children living at home includes studies that asked individuals to report how many children were living at home, how many children were living at
home under a particular age, or how many family dependents they had. In contrast, when studies asked participants to report how many children they had, the
number could include older children, adult children, or other nondependents.
d
The ModiWed Fail-Safe N was negative, indicating that no number of studies could exact a meaningful change in the estimated population correlation.

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Family conXict
Number of children
Number of children
Number living at homec
Age of youngest child
Marital status
Spousal employment
Dichotomous coding

185

186

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

FIW. Having a positive coping style or having better coping skills seems to provide
some protection from WIF and FIW ( D .12 and  D .15, respectively). The other
two demographic and individual variables, sex and income, tended to vary in their
relationship to WIF and FIW, as indicated by nonoverlapping 95% conWdence intervals. Male employees tended to have slightly more WIF ( D .03, 95% CI: .04/
.01) and female employees tended to have more FIW ( D .06, 95% CI: +.04/+.07),
although the diVerences between sexes and the diVerence between sexs relationship
to WIF and FIW were small. There were also signiWcant diVerences between the relationship of income to WIF and FIW. Employees with higher incomes had more WIF
( D .10, 95% CI: +.08/+.12), whereas income was not signiWcantly related to FIW
( D .00, 95% CI: .03/+.02).
Next, I considered whether a search for potential moderators was warranted. For
nearly all antecedents, there seemed to be signiWcant variation between studies used
in the meta-analysis. In fact, the two tests of homogeneity used in this analysis indicated homogeneity in their relationship to WIF or FIW for only two antecedents, age
of youngest child and coping style/skills. However, the 90% credibility intervals suggested homogeneity for most of the relationships. Because the results for the homogeneity tests failed to be consistent for the majority of analyses, I proceeded to
conduct the proposed moderator analyses.
First, I considered the categorical moderator, diVerences in coding scheme or measurement (as shown in Table 3). Six variables that did not meet the two tests of
homogeneity had diVerences in coding schemes between studies, hours spent at work,
job stress, hours spent on nonwork, family stress, number of children, and spousal
employment. The estimated population eVect sizes for the overall group analysis and
the sub-group analysis of those that measured the variable continuously do not diVer
greatly, however, for nearly all analyses, the sub-group analyses explain more of the
variance by artifacts or have more stable eVect size estimates. When considering only
studies that measured time at work continuously, employees who spend more time at
work experience slightly more WIF but the same amount of FIW ( D .27 and  D .01,
respectively). On the other hand, employees who spend more time in family or household duties and activities experience less WIF although the same amount of FIW
( D .02 and  D .21, respectively).
Studies that examined the relationship between job and family stress and WIF and
FIW diVered in their measurement of job and family stress. Some studies used overall
measures of job or family stress, some used more speciWc measures of job stress, such
as role overload or role ambiguity. For job stress, the sub-group analysis of those
studies that used overall measures of job stress explained more variation than did the
overall analysis, suggesting the sub-group analysis may reXect more accurate estimates of the relationship between job stress and WIF and FIW ( D .48 and  D .29,
respectively). When considering only studies that examined role overload, the estimated eVect sizes in regard to WIF and FIW tended to be greater but less stable and
homogenous ( D .65 and  D .40, respectively). For family stress, the only sub-group
analysis that could be conducted was on those studies that used overall measures of
family stress. The estimated eVect sizes for this sub-group analysis did not signiWcantly diVer from or improve upon those of the overall analysis.

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

187

Lastly, I considered whether diVerences in coding might account for betweenstudy variation for two other family domain variables, number of children and
spousal employment. Some studies asked employees to indicate how many children
(with no restrictions) they had; whereas other asked employees to indicate how
many children they had living at home or under a particular age. The coding
scheme for number of children explained signiWcant between-study variation,
although the 95% conWdence intervals for the estimated eVect sizes tended to overlap across each coding scheme for WIF ( D .05, 95% CI: +.01/+.09, and  D .08,
95% CI: +.06/+.11; respectively) or FIW ( D .17, 95% CI: +.13/+.21, and  D .15,
95% CI: +.13/+.18). Most studies dichotomized spousal employment (i.e., either the
spouse works or not); the remaining three studies each used a diVerent coding
scheme, and therefore were not considered in a sub-group analysis. Compared to
the overall analysis, the sub-group analysis for studies that dichotomized spousal
employment accounted for less between-study variation and had larger 90% credibility intervals. This suggests that the overall analysis provides a more accurate
estimate of the relationship between spousal employment and WIF and FIW
despite the fact that there were diVerences in coding schemes. In summary, for most
of the relationships considered, diVerences in coding schemes tended to explain
some of the variance between studies or provide more stable estimated eVect sizes
over the overall analyses.
Next, each of the two proposed continuous moderators were Wtted into a separate
weighted least square equation for each relationship considered. The antecedent, coping style and skills, was excluded for the proposed moderator, percent of sample with
children, due to too few studies (k < 4) that provided data. I excluded other antecedents because their interpretation lacked conceptual meaning (i.e., for percent of parents in sample, number of children and age of youngest child, and, for percent female
in sample, sex was excluded). The results of the regression models for percent of sample with children are included in Table 4, and the results of the regression models for
percent female in sample are included in Table 5.
The percent of parents in the sample related signiWcantly to the study eVect size for
over 32% of the relationships considered, suggesting that diVerences in the composition of the sample explains between-study variation for some relationships. In particular, the percent of parents in the sample seems to aVect the relationship between job
stress and workfamily interference. The more parents in the sample, the stronger the
positive relationship between job stress and WIF and FIW. While sex had a very
small direct eVect on WIF or FIW, the percent of parents in the sample does moderate this relationship. Namely, when there are more parents in the sample, there is a
greater sex diVerence in the experience of WIF and FIW, such that mothers experience more WIF and FIW than fathers. When there are fewer parents in the sample,
men tend to experience more WIF and FIW. Lastly, while there tended to be no
diVerence between married and single employees in their experience of WIF and FIW
overall, marital status is negatively related to WIF and FIW as the number of parents
in the sample increases. This suggests that single parents have more WIF and FIW
than parents who are married; whereas married and single employees without children tend to have similar levels of WIF and FIW.

188

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

Table 4
Percent of study sample with children as a moderator of eVect size
k

WIF

FIW

ZHO

ZHO

Work variables
Job involvement
Hours spent at work
Work support
Schedule Xexibility
Job stress

10
21
14
5
13

.21
.12
.35
.72
.01

.20
.08
.31
.72*
.29*

1.20
1.29
1.14
4.73
3.21

.00
.05
.39
.18
.13

.23
.10*
.30
.55
.43*

0.95
2.13
1.79
1.30
2.88

Nonwork variables
Family/nonwork involvement
Hours of nonwork
Family support
Family stress
Family conXict
Number of childrena
Age of youngest child a
Marital status
Spousal employment

9
4
11
7
7

13
10

.19
.02
.26
.31
.08

.17
.59

.10
.34
.26
.07
.01

.45*
.52

0.00
0.41
1.16
0.00
0.04

2.54
0.88

.35
.12
.23
.24
.48

.35
.02

.24
.22
.33
.01
.72*

.78*
.36

0.95
0.98
1.70
0.06
3.89

3.50
1.58

Demographic variables
Sex
Income
Coping style and skillsa

23
14

.06
.05

.65*
.09

4.85
0.00

.24
.02

.46*
.03

19.52
0.00

Note. r, Pearson correlation; , standardized regression coeYcient WLS regression; ZHO, test of null
hypothesis that  D 0; * indicates 95% conWdence that  does not equal zero.
a
Both antecedents concerned with children, number of children and age of youngest child, were
excluded from analysis because considering the percentage of parents as a moderator of their relationships
to WIF and FIW lacked conceptual meaning. Only three studies that considered coping style and skills
provided data on the percent with children in the study; therefore, these analyses were excluded.

The percent of female employees in the sample related signiWcantly to the study
eVect size for more than half of the relationships considered, suggesting that diVerences in the sex composition of the sample explains between-study variation for some
relationships. For example, having a higher percentage of women in a sample associated with a weaker positive relationship between job involvement and WIF and FIW.
Job involvement seems to relate more positively to WIF and FIW for men than for
women. Conversely, family involvement related more positively to WIF and FIW for
women than for men (although only approaching statistical signiWcance at the  level
of .05 for WIF). For men (as compared to women), being more highly involved in
their jobs is linked to more interference whereas, for women (as compared to men),
being more highly involved in their family lives is linked to more interference. In
addition, a higher percentage of females in a sample is negatively related to the study
eVect size for schedule Xexibility and WIF and FIW. Flexible schedules appear to
provide more of a protective beneWt for women than for men. However, family stress
and family conXict are more positively related to WIF and FIW for men than for
women. Stress and conXict in the family domain is linked to more interference for
men as compared to women. When more women are represented in the sample, the

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

189

Table 5
Percent female in study sample as a moderator of eVect size
k

WIF

FIW

ZHO

ZHO

Work variables
Job involvement
Hours spent at work
Work support
Schedule Xexibility
Job stress

13
27
18
8
20

.66
.10
.20
.10
.04

.71*
.03
.10
.39*
.08

6.47
0.28
0.00
2.83
0.00

.33
.14
.06
.63
.32

.35*
.12
.24
.78*
.22*

3.24
0.00
1.39
5.19
2.80

Nonwork variables
Family/nonwork involvement
Hours of nonwork
Family support
Family stress
Family conXict
Number of children
Age of youngest child
Marital status
Spousal employment

11
10
16
9
8
31
12
15
11

.33
.12
.15
.45
.22
.22
.17
.02
.16

.53
.39
.30
.56*
.30
.34*
.14
.32*
.20

1.91
1.48
1.35
3.67
1.28
2.09
0.00
2.49
0.00

.35
.02
.56
.62
.15
.24
.03
.18
.26

.23 *
.21 *
.40*
.78*
.13
.27*
.22*
.57*
.15

2.02
2.42
3.03
11.44
1.12
2.37
2.19
3.38
0.00

Demographic variables
Sexa
Income
Coping style and skills

14
6

.17
.11

.16
.12

0.00
0.00

.30
.66

.43
.60*

1.57
2.36

Note. r, Pearson correlation; , standardized regression coeYcient WLS regression; ZHO, test of null
hypothesis that  D 0; * indicates 95% conWdence that  does not equal zero.
a
Sex was excluded from analysis because considering the percentage of females as a moderator of its
relationships to WIF and FIW lacked conceptual meaning.

employees number of children is less positively related to WIF and FIW. For example, the weighted mean average correlation between number of children and WIF is
.15 for all male samples and .02 for all female samples; and, for FIW, is .21 and .08,
respectively. The percentage of female employees in the sample also moderates the
relationship between marital status and WIF and FIW. For men, more so than for
women, being married is associated with more WIF and FIW. For women, marital
status had a near-zero relationship to WIF and FIW, suggesting that being married
or single has little eVect on female employees experience of WIF and FIW. In particular, the percentage of females in the sample aVected the relationship between the
antecedents and FIW (as compared to WIF), as the percentage of females in the sample was a signiWcant moderator in 11 of the 16 (69%) relationships considered.
Lastly, I considered the relation between WIF and FIW. The weighted average
corrected correlation is .48 (SDO D .11; SD D . 10; 95% CI: +.46/+.49), which is the
result of cumulating the results of 47 studies with a total sample size of 13,384 (after
eliminating 9 studies identiWed as outliers). In all studies, WIF and FIW related positively. More interference in one domain tends to associate with more interference in
the other. In fact, only one antecedent, job stress, related nearly as strongly to WIF

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( D .48), and only one antecedent, family stress, is nearly as strongly related to FIW
( D .47) as WIF and FIW related to each other.

5. Discussion
The results of this meta-analytic review support the diVerentiation between work
interference with family and family interference with work. Employees seem to diVerentiate between the source, or direction, of interference, and the two types of interference appear to have diVerent antecedents. The results of the analysis partially
support the pattern of relationships expected: work-related antecedents tend to associate with more work-related interference than nonwork interference. Nonworkrelated antecedents tend to relate to more family interference with work than work
interference with family, although the diVerences were not always statistically signiWcant. However, of all of the antecedents, job stress, family stress, and family conXict
have among the strongest associations with both WIF and FIW, suggesting that
while there is diVerentiation, some work and family factors can have simultaneously
disruptive eVects on employees work and family lives.
Surprisingly, the two demographic variables, sex and income, which have often
been proposed in the literature as antecedents of WIF and FIW, had relatively low
relationships to WIF and FIW. For example, sex, which has been proposed as an
antecedent in dozens of studies, had a near zero relationship to WIF and a weak, positive relationship to FIW. Contrary to hypotheses in many studies, the present analysis suggests that overall men and women have similar levels of WIF and FIW. This
Wnding coincides with other research that has reported no sex diVerence in the experience or perception of occupational stress (Martocchio & OLeary, 1989). The only
individual variable considered in the analysis, coping style and skills, seemed to oVer
some beneWt to employees. Those with better time management skills or a better coping style tended to have less WIF and FIW.
While demographic variables tended to be weak predictors of WIF and FIW, they
did tend to have indirect eVects on WIF and FIW. The percentage of women or parents in the sample explained between-study variance in more relationships than
would be expected by chance. This coincides with recent theory that supports the use
of social categories as moderators in the workfamily literature (VoydanoV, 2002). In
general, being male appears to exacerbate any negative eVects of family domain antecedents, such as family stress, family conXict, number of children, and marital status,
related to workfamily conXict. Paradoxically, females tend to enjoy greater protective beneWts from those antecedents, such as Xexible work schedules, and, to some
extent, supportive families, that lessen the experience of interference. While not as
consistently as the percentage of females in the sample, the percentage of parents in
the sample also explained some diVerences in results across studies. For employees
with children as compared to those without children, having more job stress, being
single, and being is related to more workfamily conXict.
Overall, the results provide partial support for the hypotheses of the study. In view
of that, some exceptions and other surprising results deserve note. First, for WIF and

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191

FIW, only one antecedent each was as correlated with WIF and FIW as they were
with each other. While the diVerential eVects of antecedents provides support for discriminating between the two constructs, the strong positive relationship between
them deserves further study. Perhaps the perception of interference between domains
can be explained by a common third variable, such as being high in negative aVect or
having expectations of separate domains. Second, contrary to expectations, nonwork
domain variables did not have a consistently stronger relationship to FIW than to
WIF. Nonwork domain variables that have been referred to as family demands (i.e.,
number of children, age of youngest child, marital status, and spousal employment)
were nearly as related to FIW as to WIF. Perhaps this speaks to the asymmetric permeability of domains, such that family demands cause family life to interfere with
work and for work to interfere with the relatively greater family demands. Lastly,
family involvement had a near-zero correlation with FIW (and WIF), rather than
being positively related to FIW as expected. Employees who had higher family
involvement experience the same amount of FIW (and WIF) as those who were less
involved with their families.
5.1. Theoretical implications
Several theoretical models can glean support from these Wndings. Overall, the
results provide support for conXict theory (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). They highlight the potential incompatibility of work and family roles and ensuing conXict from
having multiple roles, at least for some people. For example, the present analysis
found that employees who experience more stress on the job are more likely to experience interference from their work into their family lives. Likewise, employees who
experience stress at home are more likely to experience interference from their family
lives into their work day.
Furthermore, the results suggest that both spillover and congruence are apparent
linking mechanisms between the work and family domains (Edwards & Rothbard,
2000). Spillover as a linking mechanism occurs when stress or strain from one
domain surface in another domain. Congruence as a linking mechanism between
work and family domains occurs when a third variable links the domains of work
and family domains by having a congruent eVect on both (Edwards & Rothbard,
2000). Support for spillover as a linking mechanism can be seen in the positive relationship between job stress and WIF and between family stress and conXict and FIW.
Stress from one domain is interfering with the other domain. While the results suggest that negative spillover can occur from one domain to another, the results also
support the notion that positive spillover can occur. For example, employees who are
employed in more supportive workplaces or who have more supportive families tend
to experience less workfamily conXict. Support for congruence as a linking mechanism is found in the similar relationship employees coping style and skills to both
WIF and FIW. Employees who have better time management skills and coping
behaviors experience less WIF and FIW.
The results of the meta-analysis provide some support for the rational view, which
predicts that the more time one spends in a role, or the more one specializes or is

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involved in a role, the more he or she will perceive interference in the secondary role
from the participation in the primary role (Pleck, 1977). Consistent with this view, the
number of hours spent on work was more positively related to WIF than to FIW,
and the number of hours spent on nonwork was more positively related to FIW than
to WIF. Similarly, employees with higher job involvement had more WIF than FIW.
However, inconsistent with the predictions of this view, employees with more family
or nonwork involvement did not tend to have more WIF or FIW.
Alternatively, the results do oVer some support for the sex-role hypothesis, which
proposes that sex or sex roles moderate the relationship between role involvement
and psychological distress (VoydanoV, 2002). As mentioned above, the present analysis found an inconsistent relationship between role involvement in a given role and
WIF and FIW, which is surprising given the frequency with which these relationships
have been explored in the literature. Employees sex does seem to moderate the relationship between job and family involvement and WIF and FIW. For three out of the
four eVect sizes, having more females in the sample related to the strength of the relationship between role involvement and workfamily interference. Namely, job
involvement seems to relate more positively to WIF and FIW for men than for
women. In addition, when more of a studys participants were parents, there was a
greater sex diVerence in the experience of WIF and FIW, such that mothers experience more WIF and FIW than fathers. When there were fewer parents in the sample,
men tended to experience more WIF and FIW. Perhaps because women tended to
take on greater responsibilities for childcare, mothers experience more distress from
the greater workload but only when they are also highly involved in their work.
In summary, the results provide support for multiple theoretical models. This suggests that no single model can fully explain how employees experience the intersection between their work and nonwork domains. Future theorizing should work
toward creating an integrative model that more fully explains the complexity suggested by the results presented here.
5.2. Future research
The present study also oVers some suggestions for future research. First, the
continued use of bidirectional measures is supported. The present results provide
support for the discriminant validity of these constructs. Second, the relative
importance of these antecedents may guide future research aimed at better understanding the causes and prevention of workfamily conXict. Factors such as job
stress and family conXict, which were strong predictors of both WIF and FIW, are
important topics for future research. Lastly, diVerences in the composition of the
study sample (i.e., percentage of females and percentage of parents) and the lack
of homogeneity in many of the analyses suggest that researchers should be
thoughtful about choosing their sample. In cumulating these studies, diVerences
between sampling strategies became apparent. For example, some studies only
considered parents (e.g., Duxbury, Higgins, & Lee, 1994), some only included married participants (e.g., Beutell & Witting-Berman, 1999), and some did not employ
restrictions (e.g., Aryee, Fields, & Luk, 1999). Future research should further

K. Byron / Journal of Vocational Behavior 67 (2005) 169198

193

investigate whether diVerences in sampling strategies explain diVerences in results


across studies.
In addition, in reviewing the primary research that considers antecedents of work
family interference, several gaps in the literature became apparent. Few studies
explicitly considered the diVerence between caring for adults and children. This gap
in the literature has been noted by others: [H]uman resource and organizational
behavior scholars often overlook how caring for a parent diVers from caring for a
child (Kossek et al., 1999, p. 114). In addition, most studies began with the assumption that having multiple roles would necessarily lead to distress. However, research
in other areas supports the idea that individuals who hold multiple roles reap beneWts
from doing so. In the management literature, there should be more recognition of the
beneWts (rather than detriments) that arise from the participation in multiple roles
(e.g., Thoits, 1992). Research should discard the overly simplistic notion that distress
must be found at the intersection of work and family, and instead focus on determining the conditions that distinguish when multiple roles leads to distress and when
multiple roles leads to increased fulWllment (Barnett & Hyde, 2001; Greenhaus &
Parasuraman, 1999). Lastly, few studies considered individual variables, such as personality or skill level. It seems as though workfamily conXict research, for the most
part, has not focused on individual diVerences in success at handling workfamily
conXict (Baltes & Dickson, 2001, p. 53). Future research should consider whether
other individual variables are useful at explaining diVerences in outcomes in the
workfamily literature.
5.3. Practical implications
In addition to providing guidance to workfamily researchers, the results of the
analysis oVer some practical implications. Namely, employers who seek to reduce
their employees perceived stress from competing demands should focus on reducing
job-related stress. Job-related stress, such as role conXict, ambiguity, and overload,
seems to be spilling over into employees lives away from work. Furthermore, while
outside of the work domain, employers may consider oVering guidance to their
employees on improving their relationships with their spouses and children to reduce
family conXict. Employees who reported more marital strife or more conXicts with
their children had more interference between their work and family lives. Perhaps
more employers should oVer training to their employees on managing family conXict,
although the beneWts of this type of training to employers are not well established.
Clearly, employees are not checking their family concerns at the workplace door, suggesting that employers may have an interest in helping employees with these concerns.
The analysis also suggests that employers can eVectively reduce the experience of
workfamily interference among their employees. Namely, employees who had more
Xexible schedules or who had more supportive coworkers or supervisors reported less
WIF and FIW. This suggests that some employer interventions may be beneWcial at
reducing distress for employees.
While the present analysis does provide guidance for future research and has some
practical implications, the analysis is not without its limitations. One of the primary

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limitations is that meta-analysis cannot partial out the eVects of other variables on
the relationships considered. For example, spousal employment relate more strongly
to WIF and FIW when the presence of young children in the home is simultaneously
considered. In addition, some of the eVect sizes were cumulated from a small number
of studies. Field (2001) warned that estimates and signiWcance tests from meta-analytic studies containing less than 30 samples should be interpreted very cautiously
(p. 179). However, the two estimates of eVect size stability generally provide support
for the relative stability of the eVect sizes. As with all meta-analyses, more stable and
accurate estimates may be obtained with the addition of more primary research.
Lastly, as mentioned previously, the eVect size estimates have signiWcant betweenstudy variation. The present analyses suggest that sample composition is one source
of between-study variation, and future research should seek to identify other sources
of variation between studies of workfamily interference.
This study provides support for the bidirectional nature of workfamily conXict,
and it suggests that researchers should employ measures that distinguish between
WIF and FIW. Furthermore, it supports the notion that WIF and FIW have
unique antecedents, and therefore, may require diVerent interventions or solutions
to prevent or reduce their experience. Lastly, the analysis suggests that demographic variables, such as sex and marital status, are alone poor predictors of
workfamily conXict. Researchers are advised to examine more Wnely-grained
variables that may more fully capture employees likelihood of experiencing work
family conXict.

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