Stress Proliferation? Precarity and Work–Family Conflict at the Intersection of Gender and Household Income
Wen Fan, Jack Lam, and Phyllis Moen
We theorize a stress proliferation process whereby the stress of job precarity translates into the stress of work-to-family conflict (WFC). We test whether this process differs by gender and household income. Using four cross-sectional waves of the General Social Survey (N = 2,340), we find a positive association between job insecurity and WFC for women but not men. Examined by household income levels, the association is found only for respondents in the lowest income tercile. Furthermore, gender intersects with household income to shape the stress proliferation process. While the insecurity–WFC relationship holds for women across all household income levels, for men this relationship shifts from positive for men in the lowest income tercile to negative for men in the highest income tercile. Our findings suggest that entrenched gendered expectations around work and family may lead women (regardless of household income) and lower-class men to be most vulnerable to stress proliferation.