Social Indicators Research

, Volume 132, Issue 2, pp 785–797 | Cite as

Work–Family Conflict and Well-Being Across Europe: The Role of Gender Context

  • Emma HagqvistEmail author
  • Katja Gillander Gådin
  • Mikael Nordenmark


This study analysed whether gender context is important to differences in the relationship between work–family conflict (WFC) and well-being across Europe. We hypothesised that in countries that support equality in work life and where norms support women’s employment, the relationship between WFC and low well-being is weaker than in countries with less support for gender equality. Cohabiting men and women aged 18–65 years from 25 European countries were selected from the European Social Survey. A multilevel analysis was conducted to investigate the relationship between well-being and WFC, and two measurements were used to represent gender context: gender equality in work life and norms regarding women’s employment. Contrary to the hypothesis, the results showed that the negative relationship was stronger in countries with high levels of gender equality in work life and support for women’s employment than in countries with a relatively low level of gender equality in work life and support for traditional gender relations. The context in which gender is constructed may be important when studying the relationship between WFC and well-being. In addition, emphasis should be placed on policies that equalise both the labour market and the work performed at home.


Gender context Europe Gender relations Multilevel analysis Well-being Work–family conflict 



This work was supported by the following grant sponsors: The Swedish Research Council and the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme, known as the SOPHIE project (Evaluating the Impact of Structural Policies on Health Inequalities and their Social Determinants, and Fostering Change).


This work was supported by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013, call Health-2011) under Grant 278173 (SOPHIE project) and the Swedish Research Council under Grant 421-2009-2153.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Hagqvist
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katja Gillander Gådin
    • 2
  • Mikael Nordenmark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health SciencesMid Sweden UniversityÖstersundSweden
  2. 2.Department of Health SciencesMid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden

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