Purpose: To examine the association between multiple dimensions of work-family spillover, and physical and mental health among working midlife adults.
Design: Cross-sectional analyses of self-reported data.
Setting: The National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), 1995.
Subjects: Employed adults aged 35-65 years (n = 1547) who participated in the telephone interview and returned the mail-back questionnaires of the MIDUS (overall response rate of 60.8%).
Measures: Independent variables included negative spillover from work to family, positive spillover from work to family, negative spillover from family to work, positive spillover from family to work. Self-rated physical health, chronic conditions, obesity, self-rated mental health, negative psychological well-being, and positive psychological well-being were outcomes.
Results: Independent of negative spillover between work and family, more positive spillover from work to family was associated with better physical health (odds ratio [OR] = 1.17, p < or = .05) and mental health (OR = 1.28, p < or = .01). More positive spillover from family to work was associated with less chronic conditions (OR = .85, p < or = .05), less negative well-being (OR = .67, p < or = .001), as well as better mental health (OR = 1.45, p < or = .01) and more positive well-being (OR 1.76, p < or = 001).
Conclusions: Health promotion or employment programs and policies may need to focus on minimizing negative spillover between work and family and promoting positive spillover between work and family.