Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Social Integration, Work-Family Conflict and Facilitation, and Job and Marital Quality

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Social Integration, Work-Family Conflict and Facilitation, and Job and Marital Quality

Article excerpt

This paper examines relationships between 2 dimensions of social integration (community participation and affective community resources) and job and marital quality. Data from the 1995 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (n = 1,816) indicate that the level of community participation is unrelated or negatively related to job and marital quality, whereas affective community resources show positive associations with job and marital quality. Relationships between community participation and affective community resources and job stress are partially mediated by work-to-family conflict and facilitation. Family-to-work conflict and facilitation partially mediate relationships between affective community resources and marital satisfaction and risk. The study takes a beginning step in establishing relationships and exploring processes that make up the work-community-family interface.

Key Words: job quality, marital risk, marital satisfaction, social integration, work-family conflict, work-family facilitation.

During the past several decades, extensive theoretical and empirical work has demonstrated that work and family are interconnected domains. This research has documented that demands and resources associated with participation in the work or family domain directly affect role quality and performance in the other domain. In addition, demands and resources in one domain are related to appraisals of conflict or facilitation across domains. These appraisals are linking mechanisms that mediate relationships between demands and resources and role quality and performance (Voydanoff, 2002). The study of these interconnections draws upon the ecological systems approach (Bronfenbrenner, 1989), which proposes that domains such as work and family are microsystems consisting of patterns of activities, roles, and interpersonal relations experienced in a network of face-to-face relationships. The processes and linking mechanisms occurring between two or more microsystems form a mesosystem. Cross-domain processes include resource drain, resource generation, and positive and negative spillover, whereas linking mechanisms include work-family conflict and facilitation (Edwards & Rothbard, 2000; Voydanoff, 2004a).

Recently, scholars have begun to expand this analysis to include community as a third microsystem that is linked with the work and family microsystems to form a work-community-family mesosystem. To establish linkages within the work-community-family mesosystem, it is necessary to document relationships among work, community, and family characteristics and to understand the processes and linking mechanisms through which these relationships operate. For example, characteristics associated with community participation may influence role quality and performance in the work and family domains, either directly or through linking mechanisms. Relationships between community characteristics and work and family role quality and performance may be subject to the same processes and linking mechanisms as relationships between work and family characteristics.

Broad-based analyses have indicated that work and family life are embedded in the context of the communities in which they operate. Working families' participation in community organizations and informal neighborhood and friendship relationships provides important resources in their efforts to coordinate their work and family responsibilities and activities (Bookman, 2004). Detailed empirical analyses of the effects of community participation and resources on work and family role quality and performance, however, are just now beginning.

This paper uses an ecological systems approach as a framework for investigating relationships between community participation and affective community resources and job and marital quality. It analyzes data from the 1995 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) to examine the extent to which community participation and affective resources are directly related to job and marital quality and to assess whether these relationships are mediated by work-family conflict and facilitation. …

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