Cardiometabolic Risks Associated with Work-to-family Conflict: Findings from the Work Family Health Network

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Community, Work & Family

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Objective: Work and family stressors may be associated with elevated cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods: To assess the effects of work-to-family conflict (WTFC) on biomarkers of cardiometabolic risk, we examined 1524 extended care employees over 18 months and estimated multilevel linear models that accounted for the nested nature of the data.

Results: WTFC was positively associated with BMI [β = 0.53, CI = (0.08, 0.98), p = .02 at baseline and β = 0.59, CI = (0.12, 1.04), p = .01 across the 18-month study period] and negatively with HDL cholesterol [β = −0.32, CI = (−0.57, −0.08), p = .01 across the 18-month study period]. The rate of change in BMI from baseline to 18 months increased with higher levels of WTFC as well (β = 0.08, CI = (0.03, 0.15), p = .0007). However, WTFC was not associated with other variables reflecting cardiometabolic risk, such as including blood pressure, cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin and cigarette smoking status.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that BMI, which is linked to potentially malleable health behaviors, is more closely related to inter-role conflict than biological markers reflecting longer-term physiologic processes. These effects are exacerbated over time and may be particularly detrimental to already overweight and obese individuals.


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