This paper examines a loss spiral model (i.e., reciprocal relationships) between work-family conflict and depression, moderated by co-worker support. We expected that the moderation effect due to co-worker support would be evident among those working in isolation (i.e., mining workers) due to a greater level of intragroup attraction and saliency attributable to the proximity effects. We used a two wave panel study and data from a random population sample of Australian employees (n = 2793, [n = 112 mining, n = 2681 non-mining]). Using structural equation modelling we tested the reciprocal three way interaction effects. In line with our theory, co-worker support buffered the reciprocal relationship between WFC and depression, showing a protective effect in both pathways. These moderation effects were found in the mining industry only suggesting a proximity component moderates the social support buffer hypothesis (i.e., a three way interaction effect). The present paper integrates previous theoretical perspectives of stress and support, and provides insight into the changing dynamics of workplace relationships.
Keywords: depression; mining; social support; work-family conflict.