Who Benefits from Family Support? Work Schedule and Family Differences


Kristen Jennings, Robert Sinclair, Cynthia Mohr


Robert Sinclair


Industrial/Organizational Psychology (College of Business and Behavioral Science)


Many workers struggle with balancing work and family life. Consequently, organizations commonly create policies and initiatives to support work-family balance; however, benefits of formal efforts may be minimal if employees do not also perceive their organization as family-supportive. The present study examined relationships between family supportive organizational perceptions (FSOP) and health outcomes, as well as how those effects may depend on work schedule and family differences. Using a sample of 330 nurses, the findings indicated that FSOP predicted several health and well-being outcomes. Further, the effects of FSOP depended on some work schedule and family differences. In terms of family differences, FSOP was most strongly related to life satisfaction for those who cared for dependent adults and the effects of FSOP on health outcomes were stronger for those with dependent children. Regarding schedule differences, the effect of FSOP on life satisfaction was strongest for those on non-standard (evening/night) shifts as compared to day shift; however, there were no differences in FSOP effects by hours worked per week. The findings demonstrate that FSOP may benefit some employees more than others. Such differences need to be incorporated into future work-family theory development and into efforts to document the effectiveness of family-supportive practices.

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