Work-Family Conflict and Work Exit in Later Career Stage

Baowen Xue, Maria Fleischmann, Jenny Head, Anne McMunn, Mai Stafford

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: This study investigated relationships between work-family conflict and routes of later-life work exit. METHODS: We used a cohort of British civil servants (5,157 men; 2,027 women) who participated in the Whitehall II study. Work interference with family (WIF) and family interference with work (FIW) were measured up to three times over 10 years. Cause-specific Cox models were used to assess the influence of WIF/FIW on particular routes ("retirement," "health-related exit," "unemployment," or "homemaker/other") of work exit in later career stage and all routes combined. RESULTS: WIF was not associated with any route of work exit in men or women, after adjusting for confounders. For perceived higher FIW, men were less likely to exit work through retirement, homemaker/other, or all routes combined. This was not attenuated by adding family factors or working conditions. Women with higher FIW were more likely to exit through the homemaker route. This was no longer significant after adjusting for family factors. Neither FIW nor WIF was associated with health-related exit or unemployment. DISCUSSION: FIW makes women more likely to become a homemaker at later career stage but reduces the risk of leaving work for men, which may reinforce gender inequality in work participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journals of Gerontology. Series B : Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2018

Funding

This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Medical Research Council as part of the Lifelong Health and Well-Being initiative (grant number ES/L002892/1). M. Stafford is supported by the UK Medical Research Council (grant number MRC_MC_UU_12019/5). A. McMunn is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council International Centre for Life Course Studies in Society and Health (grant number ES/J019119/1). The UK Medical Research Council (MR/K013351/1; G0902037), British Heart Foundation (RG/13/2/30098, PG/11/63/29011), and the US National Institutes of Health (R01HL36310, R01AG013196) have supported collection of data in the Whitehall II study. We thank all participants in the Whitehall II study, Whitehall II researchers, and supporting staff who made the study possible. We also thank the UK Medical Research Council, British Heart Foundation, and the US National Institutes of Health for their support for data collection in the Whitehall II study. Author B. Xue performed statistical analyses and drafted the article. M. Fleischmann contributed to conducting statistical analyses and drafting/revising the article. J. Head contributed to conducting statistical analyses and revised the manuscript. A. McMunn helped to plan the study and revised the article. M. Stafford designed the study and revised the manuscript.

FundersFunder number
Economic and Social Research Council International Centre for Life Course Studies in Society and HealthES/J019119/1
UK Medical Research CouncilMRC_MC_UU_12019/5
National Institutes of Health
National Institute on AgingR01AG013196
Medical Research CouncilES/L002892/1
Economic and Social Research Council
British Heart Foundation

    Keywords

    • Cause-specific Cox models
    • Family interference with work
    • Gender differences
    • Work interference with family

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