Work–Life Balance: Definitions, Causes, and Consequences

Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS)


This chapter reviews the multiple definitions of work–life balance, including definitions focused on the equity of time spent in the work and non-work domains, satisfaction with performance/time spent in each domain, and the salience of each role for an individual. There is a general consensus that a preferred definition should focus on work–life rather than work-family, in order to include non-family responsibilities and demands, such as study or travel commitments. The chapter also discusses the common antecedents and consequences of work–life balance arising from both work and non-work domains. These include work demands and resources, family demands and resources, and personality antecedents including evidence associating psychological capital constructs with work–life balance. Finally, this chapter considers the future directions for work–life balance research, focusing on technological advancements (e.g., Fitbits) and individual levels of mindfulness and resilience. The chapter concludes by noting the increasing evidence linking employee appointments and retention with an organization’s positive work–life balance culture.


Work–life balance Technology Culture Salience Work Family Satisfaction Performance 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied PsychologyGriffith UniversityMount GravattAustralia
  2. 2.James Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  3. 3.RMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Griffith UniversityMount GravattAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Morten Wahrendorf
    • 1
  • Jian Li
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Medical Sociology, Centre of Health and Society (CHS)University of DüsseldorfDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Fielding School of Public Health, School of NursingUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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