The Job costs of family demands: Gender differences in negative family-to-work spillover

Document Type



This article uses the 1992 National Study of the Changing Workforce to examine family and workplace factors contributing to gender differences in negative family-to-work spillover. We focus on spillover as manifested when family demands negatively affect job performance. Among married workers, women were twice as likely as men to report that family demands negatively affect their job performance. This finding is due, in part, to the fact that women made more adjustments to their workloads—such as refusing overtime or turning down assignments—for the sake of family. Ordered probit analysis suggests that job characteristics are more salient than family factors for predicting the likelihood that family demands will detract from job performance and for explaining the gender gap in negative family-to-work spillover. Working in a demanding job or having little job autonomy was associated with more negative family-to-work spillover regardless of gender, while greater scheduling flexibility mitigated the gender gap.


Dual-career families; Dual-earner couples; Family-to-work spillover; Gender; Job characteristics; Job performance; Quality of work life; Sex differences; Work and family; Work-life balance


Family, Life Course, and Society | Sociology | Work, Economy and Organizations


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Publisher Citation

Keene, J. R., & Reynolds, J. R. (2005). The job costs of family demands. Journal of Family Issues, 26(3), 275-299. doi:10.1177/0192513X04270219

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