Work–Family Conflicts and Health Behaviors Among British, Finnish, and Japanese Employees

  • T. Lallukka
  • T. Chandola
  • E. Roos
  • N. Cable
  • M. Sekine
  • S. Kagamimori
  • T. Tatsuse
  • M. Marmot
  • E. Lahelma



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.


Smoking Alcohol drinking Physical inactivity Food habits Work–family conflicts International 


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Lallukka
    • 1
  • T. Chandola
    • 2
  • E. Roos
    • 1
    • 3
  • N. Cable
    • 2
  • M. Sekine
    • 4
  • S. Kagamimori
    • 4
  • T. Tatsuse
    • 4
  • M. Marmot
    • 2
  • E. Lahelma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology & Public HealthUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Folkhälsan Research CenterHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Welfare Promotion and EpidemiologyUniversity of ToyamaToyamaJapan

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