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Regulatory Focus, Family–-Work Interface, and Adult Life Success


Regulatory focus theory (RFT; Higgins, 1997) can be useful in studying working adults’ goal-pursuing strategies for family and work success (e.g., marital adjustment and job satisfaction). We tested core hypotheses from RFT in a sample (N = 227) of married immigrants living and working in the United States. Confirmatory factor analyses supported the measurement model, and structural equation modeling was used to test study hypotheses. Results supported nearly all the RFT-derived hypotheses. Specifically, a promotion-focus orientation was more strongly associated with adults’ life success than a prevention-focus orientation. A promotion-focused orientation was solely associated with family-to-work enrichment, whereas a prevention-focused orientation was solely associated with family-to-work conflict. Finally, as expected, family-to-work enrichment mediated the association of promotion-focused orientation with job satisfaction. The overall pattern of results suggests RFT has strong potential for understanding adults’ success in their work and family lives, thereby providing a long-needed integrative theory for the multidisciplinary literature.

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  1. For the present study, we followed Hu & Bentler’s (1999) recommended cutoff values to verify a good fit between our hypothesized model and the observed data. Specifically, for maximum-likelihood (ML) CFA, a cutoff value of 0.95 for TLI and CFI, 0.08 for SRMR, and 0.06 for RMSEA was considered.


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Correspondence to Aosai Liu.

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Liu, A., Manchiraju, S., Beutell, N.J. et al. Regulatory Focus, Family–-Work Interface, and Adult Life Success. J Adult Dev (2022).

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  • Regulatory focus theory
  • Adult development
  • Goal-pursuit
  • Family and work success
  • Family-to-work enrichment
  • Family-to-work conflict