Beyond Just Resilience: the Important Role of Work-Family Resources for Military Service Members

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Occupational Health Science

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The military has allocated extensive resources to improve service member resilience in an effort to decrease the impact of stressors on health and well-being. Previous research has linked resilience to various positive outcomes (e.g., physical and mental health, job satisfaction) and has established that service members face unique and challenging work-family experiences. However, the importance of resilience to work-family experiences remains underexplored. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, this study examines the relationships between resilience (i.e., the ability to bounce back from stressors) and work-family outcomes, and whether organizational work-family resources of work-family climate perceptions and family-supportive supervisor behavior moderate these relationships. Based on a sample of 417 Army National Guard service members from 10 workgroups, and using a multilevel path model, we found that more resilient service members experience lower family-to-work conflict and greater work-to-family enrichment. Further, the relationship between resilience and family-to-work enrichment was significant and stronger for service members who perceive their work climate as family-supportive compared to the relationship for those who do not. Improving resilience in military personnel may help to facilitate positive work-family experiences, but resilience is likely most beneficial when organizational work-family resources (i.e., a family-supportive work climate) are also available.


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