Work Family Conflict and Satisfaction in Work and Family Domains: The Moderating Role of Personal Growth Initiative



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Work-family conflict (WFC) is a significant source of stress for a majority of working adults in the United States, with over 70% reporting interference between work and family domains (Schieman et al., 2009). WFC is bi-directional (WIF - work interference with family; FIW - family interference with work) and associated with negative outcomes in family and work domains, including decreased marital and job satisfaction (Shockley & Singla, 2011). Research has focused on reducing WFC through workplace policies (e.g., flexible work arrangements), however, such policies are not widely available to many workers. Thus, there is a need to identify individual characteristics that could prove promotive or protective in the presence of WFC (Allen et al., 2012). This study initially aimed to evaluate how personal growth initiative (PGI; Robitschek, 1998) skills might protect marital and job satisfaction in the presence of WFC conflict. It became clear the initial aims did not account for the magnitude of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on people’s lives, thus, subsequent post-hoc analyses were conducted to better understand the data. The sample consisted of 351 married, working adults in the United States, and was collected over two waves during the COVID-19 pandemic (during the Delta COVID-19 wave and during the Omicron COVID-19 wave). Results did not support PGI as a significant moderator of associations among WFC with marital and job satisfaction. Post-hoc analyses supported main effects of PGI on marital and job satisfaction in the presence of WFC. Significantly higher levels of WIF and FIW and lower levels of marital and job satisfaction were reported during Wave 1 of data collection compared to Wave 2. PGI skills, however, did not differ as a Texas Tech University, David Winograd, December 2022 vi function of wave of data collection, gender, or having children living at home. WFC emerged as the most salient predictor of marital and job satisfaction, followed by interactions of PGI with gender. The interactions suggest that women’s utilization of PGI skills was more promotive of marital and job satisfaction in the presence of WFC than it was for men. Implications of this study support further research into the promotive role of PGI skills during individually and societally traumatic experiences, as well as the potentially prophylactic utility of teaching PGI skills to a general population.



Personal growth initiative, Work family conflict