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Prevalence, determinants and health-related outcomes of work-life imbalance within the Swiss working population. A cross-sectional and longitudinal study based on data of the Swiss household panel

English title Prevalence, determinants and health-related outcomes of work-life imbalance within the Swiss working population. A cross-sectional and longitudinal study based on data of the Swiss household panel
Applicant Gutzwiller Felix
Number 112967
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Epidemiologie, Biostatistik und Prävention Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Group Medicine
Start/End 01.05.2006 - 31.12.2008
Approved amount 131'300.00
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Keywords (6)

work-life balance; work-family conflict; work-life conflict; stress; health; health-related outcomes

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Scientific and health-related research on the topic of poor work-life balance (WLB) has begun only re-cently. Most studies in the work and health fields have focused on so-called work-family conflicts (WFC)-i.e., inter-role conflicts between work and family lives. This implies that demands from other private life domains such as leisure activities or voluntary work and/or community or political activity have been neglected, and that research has been mostly restricted to employees with children or minors at home. WFC research has also been limited largely to English-speaking countries, in particular to North America, and almost exclusively to cross-sectional studies among non-representative samples of certain homogenous demographic groups. To overcome these limitations, the following research proposal pur-sues the following goals and research questions.

First, the prevalence and the determinants and health-related outcomes of poor WLB will be investigated by expanding the perspective and considering not only family life, but other aspects of private life. Refer-ring to this, work life conflicts (WLC) instead of themore focused WFC will be examined.
_Which private life domains beyondfamily life are relevant to WLB and therefore to be included in an expanded explanatory model of WLC?
Second, based on this WLC model, the prevalence of poor WLB in the Swiss working population will be assessed and compared to findings from foreign studies and for certain demographicgroups.
_How wide spread are WLC in the Swiss workingpopulation?
_Which sub-populations are at special risk andparticularly affected by WLC?
_Has the proportion of employees withpoor WLB increased in recent years in Switzerland?
Third, the study will systematically assess relevant causes and immediate as well astime-delayed health effects of poor WLB.
_How stable are WLC, and howstrongly do they vary intrapersonally over time?
_Which long-term workconditions and other life circumstances are associated with WLC?
_ Which private and professional life events alter WLC or WLB in a sustainedfashion?
_What are the immediate and time-delayed health effects ofWLC?

Previously, the applicants had conducted a small explorative study based on the Swiss Household Panel (SHP) data of the survey 2000, which had been funded by the SNF. This study had been limited to a simple WLB indicator contained in the SHP at the time and to cross-sectional data. Starting with the fourth SHP data collection wave of 2002, the applicants introduced three additional questionnaire items into the SHP, which provide a more reliable, and valid measurement for WLB based on a broader concep-tualization of the WLC construct. Further, the yearly surveyed SHP with an initial sample size of 7'800 people contains all other information needed to address the above listed research questions.Thus, the present study uses both cross-sectional (latest available data collection wave of 2004) and longitudinal (waves from 1999 to 2004) data of the SHP.
Compared to the previous, explorative study, the improved validity of the operationalization of the WLC construct permits a better, more nuanced and more valid estimate of the prevalence of poor WLB. The panel character of the data and the longitudinal analyses permit exploration of the time course of WLC, identification of short- as well as long-term health effects of unfavorable working and living conditions and generally more conclusive evidence on the causality of the associations.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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