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Do work–family conflict or family–work conflict mediate relationships between work-related hazards and stress and pain?

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Introduction: Previous research has identified associations between work–family conflict (WFC) and health outcomes (e.g., musculoskeletal pain). This study investigated whether WFC and family–work conflict explain relationships between exposure to work-related hazards and musculoskeletal pain and stress for workers undertaking some or all of their work at home. Possible differences by home workspace location were also explored. Methods: Longitudinal survey data were collected from workers in Australia engaged in work from home for at least two days per week. Data was collected at four timepoints approximately 6 months apart (Baseline [October 2020] n = 897; Wave 1 [May/June 2021] n = 368; Wave 2 [October/November 2021] n = 336; Wave 3 [May 2022] n = 269). Subjective measures of work-related psychosocial hazards, occupational sitting and physical activity, musculoskeletal pain, and stress were collected via an online questionnaire. Mediation analyses were conducted using the R package “mediation.” Analyses were also conducted with the data set stratified by home office location, using R version 4.1.3. Results: Both WFC and family–work conflict acted as mediators between psychosocial work-related hazards and musculoskeletal pain and stress. WFC mediated more relationships than family–work conflict. Location of home workspace was important, particularly for those working in a space at home where they may be subject to interruptions. Conclusion: Addressing WFC is a legitimate means through which musculoskeletal pain and stress can be reduced. Organizational risk management strategies need to address all work-related risks, including those stemming from work-life interaction.


Funding from Medibank Optus. Grant sponsor: Medibank and Optus. Grant number not allocated.


Publication Date



American Journal of Industrial Medicine






14p. (p. 780-793)





Rights Statement

© 2023 The Authors. American Journal of Industrial Medicine Published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.