Work-family interface from a life and career stage perspective: the role of demands and resources

Int J Psychol. 2012;47(4):241-58. doi: 10.1080/00207594.2012.699055.


Work-family conflict and enrichment are experiences that occur daily and have substantial consequences for employees, their families, and the organizations that employ them. The aim of the current review is to make a link between life and career stage, work and family conditions, and the work-family interface. The basic proposition is that life stages partly determine career development, and consequently the specific working conditions (job demands and job resources) and family conditions (family demands and family resources) that individuals are exposed to. As a result, the specific demands and resources in the work and family domains determine to what extent individuals experience that work and family are conflicting or enriching life domains. In this review we suggest that individuals in early adulthood will experience high inter-role conflict and low facilitation due to high demands and low resources in both life domains, while individuals in late adulthood will experience the opposite pattern; that is, low conflict and high facilitation due to low demands and high resources in both domains. Individuals in middle adulthood will experience high work-family conflict but also high family-work facilitation due to the presence of high job demands and resources in both life domains. Integrating life and career stage perspectives and the experience of work-family interface is of notable practical utility because it provides a mechanism to make more informed decisions about the relative need for and corresponding benefits of work-family programs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Career Mobility*
  • Child
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Role*
  • Social Identification
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Young Adult