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J Occup Health Psychol. 2010 Jul;15(3):316-29. doi: 10.1037/a0019721.

Managers' practices related to work-family balance predict employee cardiovascular risk and sleep duration in extended care settings.

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Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.


An increasing proportion of U.S. workers have family caregiving responsibilities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether employees in extended care settings whose managers are supportive, open, and creative about work-family needs, such as flexibility with work schedules, have lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and longer sleep than their less supported counterparts. From semistructured interviews with managers, we constructed a work-family balance score of manager openness and creativity in dealing with employee work-family needs. Trained interviewers collected survey and physiologic outcome data from 393 employees whose managers had a work-family score. Employee outcomes are sleep duration (actigraphy) and CVD risk assessed by blood cholesterol, high glycosylated hemoglobin/diabetes, blood pressure/hypertension, body-mass index, and tobacco consumption. Employees whose managers were less supportive slept less (29 min/day) and were over twice as likely to have 2 or more CVD risk factors (ORs = 2.1 and 2.03 for low and middle manager work-family scores, respectively) than employees whose managers were most open and creative. Employees who provide direct patient care exhibited particularly elevated CVD risk associated with low manager work-family score. Managers' attitudes and practices may affect employee health, including sleep duration and CVD risk.

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