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The chicken or the egg? A meta-analysis of panel studies of the relationship between work-family conflict and strain

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Nohe Christoph, Meier Laurenz L, Sonntag Karlheinz, Michel Alexandra,
Project Examining the Effect of Well-being on Work Stressors
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Applied Psychology
Volume (Issue) 100
Page(s) 522 - 536
Title of proceedings Journal of Applied Psychology


Does work–family conflict predict strain, does strain predict work–family conflict, or are they recipro- cally related? To answer these questions, we used meta-analytic path analyses on 33 studies that had repeatedly measured work interference with family (WIF) or family interference with work (FIW) and strain. Additionally, this study sheds light on whether relationships between WIF/FIW and work-specific strain support the popular cross-domain perspective or the less popular matching perspective. Results showed reciprocal effects; that is, that WIF predicted strain ( .08) and strain predicted WIF ( .08). Similarly, FIW and strain were reciprocally related, such that FIW predicted strain ( .03) and strain predicted FIW ( .05). These findings held for both men and women and for different time lags between the 2 measurement waves. WIF had a stronger effect on work-specific strain than did FIW, supporting the matching hypothesis rather than the cross-domain perspective.