Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 445–457 | Cite as

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

  • Eunae ChoEmail author
  • Louis Tay
Original Paper



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.


Lagged analyses were conducted on self-reported data from a representative U.S. sample over a 9-year interval (N = 2588).


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.


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.


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.


Work–family spillover Life satisfaction Job satisfaction Marital satisfaction Longitudinal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of PsychologyNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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