A dispositional perspective on work -family spillover for dual -earner couples: The role of elements of attachment, state affect, and social support

Chunhong Zhang, Purdue University


The current study examined, from a dispositional perspective, the process of negative Work-to-Family and Family-to-Work Spillover for dual-earner couples. Structural equation modeling was used in a secondary data analysis of 300 full-time employed dual-earner couples to examine (1) Elements of Attachment as a dispositional predictor for Negative Work-to-Family and Family-to-Work Spillover, and (2) whether domain specific State Affect and Social Support mediate the relationship between Elements of Attachment and the two types of Work-Family Spillover. Additionally, by using the couple level as the unit of analysis, I examined how dual-earner husbands and wives' experience of Work-Family spillover were related and whether there was gender effect on the proposed mediation processes. A series of models were fit. First, the direct effect of Elements of Attachment on each of the four outcome variables were investigated and it was found that Elements of Attachment strongly predicted both types of spillover for dual-earner husbands and wives. The explained variance in outcome variables ranged from 13% to 24%. Next, a model with State Affect and Social Support at Work mediating the effects of Elements of attachment on Work-to-Family Spillover was tested. Affective experience at workplace was found to partially mediate the relationship only for dual-earner wives but not for husbands. Significant gender difference was also found in this process, particularly in the roles played by Social Support. Then, a model with State Affect at Home and Spousal Support at Home mediating the effect of Elements of Attachment on Family-to-Work Spillover was tested. The model was equivalent across gender, and it was found that for both husbands and wives, negative affective experience at home marginally and partially mediated the relationship between dispositional predictor and their experience of negative Family-to-Work Spillover. Spousal support indirectly helped to alleviate negative Family-to-Work Spillover through improving affective experience of partners. Additionally, it was found that the affective experience of dual-earner husbands and wives were strongly connected and mutually influential of each other.




Keiley, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology|Occupational psychology

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