Spillover: Negative Impacts

Spillover: Negative Impacts

Compiled by Melissa Brown, Chelsea Lettieri and
Sandee Tisdale

Topic Page Advisor:
David L. Snow, PhD 

A Sloan Network Fact Sheet on Spillover: Negative Impacts (2008)

The Sloan Work and Family Research Network has prepared Fact Sheets that provide statistical answers to some important questions about work-family and work/life issues.

Click here to download the Sloan Network Fact Sheet on Spillover: Negative Impacts: https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/sites/workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/files/imported/pdfs/spillover.pdf

When Professional Life Spills Over Into Family Life

“Steve Malin is of counsel at the Dallas office of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and the father of four children. He practices commercial and patent litigation in Texas and around the country.” He recounts how his profession has affected his home life.


Malin. Steve. (2005. May 16).When Professional Life Spills Over Into Family Life.

Retrieved From: http://www.law.com/jsp/law/sfb/lawArticleSFB.jsp?id=1115888712156

Work-Family Spillover Can Affect Health (2000)

This news release highlights a study conducted by Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, when he was at University of California, Irvine, in 2000.  One of Grzywacz’s findings was that positive and negative spillover each exerted distinct effects on physical and mental health. That is, not only was less negative spillover associated with better health, but more positive spillover was also independently associated with better health.

Grzywacz, J.G. ( 2000, May 2). Work-family spillover can affect health. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.cfah.org/hbns/newsrelease/work-family5-2-00.cfm

Coping with the Demands of Modern Living (n.d.)

“Helen is the Vice President for Strategy Management and Implementation with OTi Consulting. She is also a Work-Life Consultant and trainer/facilitator for OTi’s Work-Life Effectiveness, Performance Management and Thumbs Up!”  She gives her recount on coping with life. 

Lim-Yang, H. (n.d.).
How I cope with the demands of modern living.  Retrieved from http://fcd.ecitizen.gov.sg/NR/rdonlyres/858BC778-4ED9-4288-8644-C0B881E3D583/0/FeaturearticleHelen.pdf

Coping With Work and Family Stress

Activity Description: 

"Coping With Work and Family Stress is a workplace preventive intervention designed to teach employees 18 years and older how to deal with stressors at work and at home. The model is derived from Pearlin and Schooler's hierarchy of coping mechanisms as well as Bandura's social learning theory. The 16 90-minute sessions, typically provided weekly to groups of 15-20 employees, teach effective methods for reducing risk factors (stressors and avoidance coping) and enhancing protective factors (active coping and social support) through behavior modification (e.g., methods to modify or eliminate sources of stress), information sharing (e.g., didactic presentations, group discussions), and skill development (e.g., learning effective communication and problem-solving skills, expanding use of social network)."

Activity Source: 

Snow, D.L. (2007). Coping with work and family stress. Retrieved from http://www.nrepp.samhsa.gov/programfulldetails.asp?PROGRAM_ID=142

Work-Family Spillover, Time Use and Food Choices: Perceptions and Strategies of Low-Income Workers

Activity Description: 

This PowerPoint Presentation shows the relationship between work-family spillover and food choices. Results indicate that people creating eating routines to work around work and family time. The routines may have consequences such as taste, sleep, social interactions, and income.

To access the slides, visit: http://www.farmfoundation.org/projects/documents/Devine.presentation.pdf

Activity Source: 

Devine, C.M. & Bisogni, C.A. (2004).  Work-family spillover, time use and food choices: perceptions and strategies of low-income workers.  Retrieved from http://www.farmfoundation.org/projects/documents/Devine.presentation.pdf

Transitions Research Project

Activity Description: 

“Transitions is a cross-national research project which examined how young European adults negotiate motherhood and fatherhood and work-family boundaries in the context of labour market and workplace change, different national welfare state regimes and family and employer supports. The project examined individual and household strategies and their consequences for well-being at the individual, family and organisational levels. This was studied in the context of parallel organisational contexts and macro-levels of public support in the 8 participating countries: Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK.”  The website includes a literature review, context mapping, case studies, and project details.

To access the findings from the case studies, visit: http://www.workliferesearch.org/transitions/studies.html

For more information on the Transitions Research Project, visit: http://www.workliferesearch.org/transitions/index.html

Activity Source: 

Transitions (2004). Case studies: Executive summary for the EU framework 5 study ‘gender, parenthood, and the changing European workplace.’ Retrieved from http://www.workliferesearch.org/transitions/Case%20Studies%20ExecSumm.pdf 

Managing Our Time and Our Stress More Effectively

Activity Description: 

This PowerPoint Presentation provides an overview of individual and organizational causes of stress and discusses the impact of stress on employers. Critical questions on time management are presented, and suggestions for better time management are offered.

To access this resource, visit: http://www.cobracm.org/quality_initiative/Fordham/Work%20Stress.ppt

Activity Source: 

Nydegger, R. (n.d.).  Managing our time and our stress more effectively.  Retrieved from www.cobracm.org/quality_initiative/Fordham/Work%20Stress.ppt

Strategies for Work-Family Integration, A Suggested Work and Family Class Activity

Activity Description: 

Name of activity:

Strategies for Work-Family Integration

Related Encyclopedia Entry topic:

Border/Boundary Theory and Work-Family Integration


To explore concepts of border ambiguities and work-family integration


  1. Discussion Starter

    Ask students what "work" and "family" mean to them.

    Inquire whether there have ever been times when they have tried to "kill two birds with one stone," for example by bringing their work home or bringing their kids to work with them.
  2. Debate

    Ask for volunteers and get them to debate the topic — "Work and family— the twain shall never meet."

Alternatively, if you teach a large class you can ask two of your teaching assistants to prepare a short 3-5 minute case and have them debate it in front of the entire class putting the for and against case. This is especially effective at the beginning of a class to get the students engaged in the topic. You can also gauge the students' positions pre and post the debate.

Activity Source: 

Content contributed by Stephan Desrochers and Leisa D. Sargent as a Suggested Work and Family Class Activity for the Sloan Networks’ Resources for Teaching section.

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