Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2005;31(1):15-29    pdf


Disentangling the causal relationships between work-home interference and employee health

by van Hooff MLM, Geurts SAE, Taris TW, Kompier MAJ, Dikkers JSE, Houtman ILD, van den Heuvel FMM

Objectives The present study was designed to investigate the causal relationships between (time- and strain-based) work–home interference and employee health. The effort–recovery theory provided the theoretical basis for this study.

Methods Two-phase longitudinal data (with a 1-year time lag) were gathered from 730 Dutch police officers to test the following hypotheses with structural equation modeling: (i) work–home interference predicts health deterioration, (ii) health complaints precede increased levels of such interference, and (iii) both processes operate. The relationship between stable and changed levels of work–home interference across time and their relationships with the course of health were tested with a group-by-time analysis of variance. Four subgroups were created that differed in starting point and the development of work–home interference across time.

Results The normal causal model, in which strain-based (but not time-based) work–home interference was longitudinally related to increased health complaints 1 year later, fit the data well and significantly better than the reversed causal model. Although the reciprocal model also provided a good fit, it was less parsimonious than the normal causal model. In addition, both an increment in (strain-based) work–home interference across time and a long-lasting experience of high (strain-based) work–home interference were associated with a deterioration in health.

Conclusions It was concluded that (strain-based) work–home interference acts as a precursor of health impairment and that different patterns of (strain-based) work–home interference across time are related to different health courses. Particularly long-term experience of (strain-based) work–home interference seems responsible for an accumulation of health complaints.

The following articles refer to this text: 2006;32(6):421-430; 2014;40(1):66-73; 2017;43(2):109-116; 2018;44(1):69-79