Enhanced Co-Worker Social Support in Isolated Work Groups and Its Mitigating Role on the Work-Family Conflict-Depression Loss Spiral

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Mar 29;13(4):382. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13040382.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Depression
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Social Support*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Work*
  • Workplace*
  • Young Adult