Domain Satisfaction as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Work–Family Spillover and Subjective Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study

Eunae Cho, Louis Tay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Despite greater recognition that public and workplace policies are needed to facilitate work–family integration, scarce evidence exists on whether and how work–family spillover relates to future subjective well-being (SWB). Guided by conservation of resources theory and bottom-up theories of SWB (i.e., domain-specific satisfaction serves as a source of overall SWB), we investigated the relationship between work–family spillover and future life satisfaction and the potential mechanisms of the relationship (job and marital satisfaction). The relative contribution of positive and negative work–family spillover to SWB was also examined. Design/Methodology/Approach: Lagged analyses were conducted on self-reported data from a representative U.S. sample over a 9-year interval (N = 2588). Findings: Individuals who experienced negative work-to-family spillover were less satisfied with their life at a 9-year follow-up, whereas those who experienced positive family-to-work spillover reported higher life satisfaction at the follow-up. These prospective associations remained significant when considering other established predictors of life satisfaction (baseline life satisfaction, health, gender, income, and personality) and were mediated by job satisfaction and marital satisfaction. Implications: This study provides empirical evidence for ongoing advocacy for working families, suggesting that policies that facilitate positive family-to-work spillover and minimize negative work-to-family spillover should be regarded as essential to enhance SWB of individuals in our society in the long run. Originality/Value: This study expands our understanding of the causal relationship between work–family spillover and life satisfaction by considering both positive and negative spillover and demonstrating the mechanisms by which work–family spillover relates to future life satisfaction, even beyond personality, health, and income.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Job satisfaction
  • Life satisfaction
  • Longitudinal
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Work–family spillover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Domain Satisfaction as a Mediator of the Relationship Between Work–Family Spillover and Subjective Well-Being: A Longitudinal Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this