Work–Family Conflicts and Health Behaviors Among British, Finnish, and Japanese Employees
Work–family conflicts are associated with poor health. However, work–family conflicts and health behaviors have been little studied.
This study examined the associations of conflicts between paid work and family life with unhealthy behaviors among British, Finnish, and Japanese employees.
Data were derived from postal questionnaire surveys among 40 to 60 years old employees from three cohorts, the British Whitehall II Study (n = 3,397), the Finnish Helsinki Health Study (n = 4,958), and the Japanese Civil Servants Study (n = 2,901). Outcomes were current smoking, heavy drinking, physical inactivity, and unhealthy food habits. Work–family conflicts were measured with eight items. Age, marital status, and occupational class were adjusted for in logistic regression analyses.
Work–family conflicts had few and inconsistent associations with unhealthy behaviors in all three cohorts. In the Finnish cohort, strong work–family conflicts were associated with current smoking among men. Women with strong conflicts had more often unhealthy food habits and were more often heavy drinkers than women with weaker conflicts. Likewise, British women with strong work–family conflicts were more often heavy drinkers.
Although work–family conflicts were fairly prevalent in the examined cohorts, these conflicts had but few associations with the studied key health behaviors.
KeywordsSmoking Alcohol drinking Physical inactivity Food habits Work–family conflicts International
- 8.Prättälä R. Puun ja Kuoren Välissä—Metsurit ja Kirvesmiehet Puhuvat Terveellisistä Elintavoista. (Between a rock and a hard place. Loggers and carpenters talking about healthy lifestyles). 1998;32/1997.Google Scholar
- 13.Frone MR, Russell M, Cooper ML. Relation of work–family conflict to health outcomes: a four-year longitudinal study of employed parents. J Occup Organiz Psychol. 1997;70:325–35.Google Scholar
- 15.Ylikoski M, Lamberg M, Yrjänheikki E, Ilmarinen J, Partinen R, Jokiluoma H, et al. Health in the world of work: workplace health promotion, vol. 62. Helsinki: Ministry of Social Affairs and Health; 2006. p. 1–142.Google Scholar
- 16.Blau F. Trends in the well-being of American women, 1970–1995. J Econ Lit. 1998;36:112–65.Google Scholar
- 17.Arber S, Hislop J, Bote M, Meadows R. Gender roles and women's sleep in mid and later life: a quantitative approach. Sociol Res. 2007;12(5). http://www.socresonline.org.uk/12/5/3.html.
- 20.Dahl E, Fritzell J, Lahelma L, Martikainen P, Kunst A, Mackenbach JP. Welfare state regimes and health inequalities. In: Siegrist J, Marmot M, editors. Social inequalities in health: new evidence and policy implications. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2006. p. 193–222.Google Scholar
- 21.Esping-Andersen G. Three worlds of welfare capitalism. London: Polity; 1990.Google Scholar
- 22.Uzuhashi T. Japanese model of welfare state: how it was changed throughout “the lost decade” of the 1990’s. Jpn J Soc Secur Policy. 2003;2:1–11.Google Scholar
- 25.Lallukka T, Lahelma E, Rahkonen O, Roos E, Laaksonen E, Martikainen P, et al. Associations of job strain and working overtime with adverse health behaviors and obesity: evidence from the Whitehall II Study, Helsinki Health Study, and the Japanese Civil Servants Study. Soc Sci Med. 2008;66:1681–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 31.Kagamimori S, Sekine M, Nasermoaddeli A, Hamanisi S. Report on stress and health survey in the Japanese civil servants. Toyama: University of Toyama; 2002. in Japanese.Google Scholar
- 32.Working group appointed by the Finnish Society of Addiction Medicine. Treatment of alcohol abuse. Current Care Summary. 2005.Google Scholar
- 39.Duxbury L, Higgins C. Work–life conflict in Canada in the new millennium. A status report. Ottawa, ON: Health Canada; 2003. p. 1–154.Google Scholar
- 40.Netterstrøm B, Nielsen FE, Kristensen TS, Bach E, Moller L. Relation between job strain and myocardial infarction: a case-control study. Occup Environ Health. 1999;56:339–42.Google Scholar
- 44.Laaksonen M, Talala K, Martelin T, Rahkonen O, Roos E, Helakorpi S, et al. Health behaviours as explanations for educational level differences in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality: a follow-up of 60 000 men and women over 23 years. Eur J Public Health. 2008;18:38–43.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 48.Ferrie JE, Kivimäki M, Singh-Manoux A, Shortt A, Martikainen P, Head J, et al. Non-response to baseline, non-response to follow-up and mortality in the Whitehall II cohort. Int J Epidemiol; 2009;38(3):831–37.Google Scholar
- 49.Laaksonen E, Martikainen P, Lahelma E, Lallukka T, Rahkonen O, Head J, et al. Socioeconomic circumstances and common mental disorders among Finnish and British public sector employees: evidence from the Helsinki Health Study and the Whitehall II Study. Int J Epidemiol. 2007;36:776–86.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar