Work-family spillover and depression: Racial differences among employed women

Published:December 17, 2020, by Elsevier Ltd

The intersection of work and family life can be a source of burden (negative) and a source of growth (positive). Negative work-to-family and family-to-work spillover have been linked to poor mental health, while positive work-to-family and family-to-work spillover have been linked to improved health outcomes. Less is known about these relationships in racial subgroups. Louisiana, USA, has a large proportion of African Americans, providing a unique population in which to study these relationships. The objectives of this study were to examine, among a sample of women in southern Louisiana in 2017, levels of work-family spillover by race and how the relationship between work-family spillover and depressive symptoms varies by race. 284 employed women (61% White, 39% Black) met eligibility criteria and participated in a survey to collect information on work-family spillover (positive and negative) and depressive symptoms. White women experienced higher levels of both kinds of negative spillover (work-to-family and family-to-work) as well as higher levels of positive work-to-family spillover compared to Black women. There were no differences between White and Black women with respect to positive family-to-work spillover. Higher levels of negative work-to-family spillover were related to greater depressive symptoms among both Blacks and Whites. But higher levels of negative family-to-work spillover were related to higher levels of depressive symptoms among Black women only. A protective relationship from positive family-to-work spillover for depressive symptoms was observed among White women only. This study fills an important gap in the literature on racial differences in the relationship between work-family spillover and depression.

This new research is published in the Elsevier Ltd , SSM – Population Health, Volume 13, March 2021 is titled “Work-family spillover and depression: Are there racial differences among employed women? was authored by Dr. Ariane L. Rung faculty in Epidemiology. The research team also included Drs. Evrim Oral, Ariane L. Rung, and Edward S. Peters , all from the LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health.

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(Pictured: Dr. Ariane L. Rung faculty in Epidemiology)