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Journal of Occupational Health Psychology


American Psychological Association





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This research examines the impact of role boundary management on the work-family interface, as well as on organizational (job embeddedness) and family (relationship tension) outcomes. First, we integrate conservation of resources theory with crossover theory, to build a theoretical model of work-family boundary management. Second, we extend prior work by exploring positive and negative paths through which boundary management affects work and family outcomes. Third, we incorporate spouse perceptions to create a dynamic, systems-perspective explanation of the work-family interface. Using a matched sample of 639 job incumbents and their spouses, we found that family-to-work boundary transitions was related to the job incumbents' work-to-family conflict, work-to-family enrichment, and job embeddedness as well as the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse. We also found that the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse mediated the relationship between family-to-work boundary transitions and both work-to-family conflict and work-to-family enrichment. Finally, we found significant indirect effects between family-to-work boundary transitions and job embeddedness and relationship tension through both the boundary management strain transmitted to the spouse and the incumbent's work-family conflict, but not through work-family enrichment. Thus, family-to-work boundary transitions offer some benefits to the organization by contributing to job embeddedness, but they also come at a cost in that they are associated with work-family conflict and relationship tension. We discuss the study's implications for theory, research, and practice while suggesting new research directions.

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