To read this content please select one of the options below:

Exercise and work-family conflict: a field experiment

Russell W. Clayton (Saint Leo University, Saint Leo, Florida, USA)
Christopher H. Thomas (John Cook School of Business, Saint Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, USA)
Bryan S. Schaffer (Lutgert College of Business, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida, USA)
Micheal Stratton (University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina, USA)
Ellen Garrison (University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina, USA)
Leah Greden Mathews (University of North Carolina at Asheville, Asheville, North Carolina, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 10 April 2017




Recent research along with anecdotal evidence suggests that exercise may play a role in mitigating perceptions of work-family conflict (WFC). However, the temporal effects related to this relationship have been ignored. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue by testing for the effects of acute and long-term exercise on the work-family interface.


Employed females (N=46) were randomly assigned to a treatment (exercise) or control group (no exercise) and data were gathered at three points in time, over four weeks. Linear Mixed Model processes were conducted.


The authors found that there is a statistically significant long-term exercise effect on strain-based work interference with family and family interference with work.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was restricted to sedentary females, was predominantly white/Caucasian, and held white-collar jobs, limiting the generalizability of the findings.

Practical implications

Results from the current study suggest that exercise assists individuals in managing the work-family interface. While this is not a broad-sweeping call for all employers to offer on-site exercise facilities, the authors suggest that employers consider offering accommodations to individuals seeking to utilize exercise as a way to reduce WFC and general stress.


This is the first empirical study that examines the temporal impact of exercise on the work-family interface.



Research funding: this research study was funded by a generous grant from the North Carolina Center for Health & Wellness.


Clayton, R.W., Thomas, C.H., Schaffer, B.S., Stratton, M., Garrison, E. and Mathews, L.G. (2017), "Exercise and work-family conflict: a field experiment", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 32 No. 3, pp. 225-238.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles