U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Impact of Work-Family Conflict on Correctional Staff Job Satisfaction: An Exploratory Study

NCJ Number
American Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 27 Issue: 1 Dated: Fall 2002 Pages: 35-52
Date Published
18 pages

A survey administered to correctional staff at a midwestern prison examined the impact of "work-on-family" conflict (employee brings problems and stress home from work that affect the quality of family life) and "family-on-work" conflict (family conflicts and crises affect work performance and behavior) on job satisfaction.


All employees at a maximum-security midwestern prison were administered a survey designed to assess staff views of the work environment during the fall of 2000. There were 270 useable surveys, constituting a response rate of 61 percent to 68 percent. Respondents represented all areas and administrative levels of the correctional facility. Half of the respondents were certified correctional officers. Seven demographic characteristics were selected as control variables, because they have been found to have a significant impact on correctional staff job satisfaction in past studies. An ordinary least squares regression equation was computed, with the job satisfaction index as the dependent variable and the demographic variables, dangerousness, role conflict, role ambiguity, and the two work-family conflict scales as independent variables. Findings suggest that time-based work-on-family conflict has a significant influence on correctional staff job satisfaction, even when taking into account demographic characteristics and other work stressors. Apparently the job consumes so much time that it interferes with family schedules. Family-on-work conflict, on the other hand, fails to have a significant effect on correctional staff job satisfaction. The implication of these findings is that corrections administrators should be aware that time-based work-on-family conflict ultimately decreases the level of job satisfaction for many correctional workers. The findings also reinforce the correctional staff literature in concluding that role ambiguity decreases job satisfaction. Providing a more supportive work environment that values employee family and social life could reduce some tension. More flexible and sensitive employee work schedules could provide further relief. Instilling better time-management skills so that staff learn to "work smarter not harder" might also be beneficial. 2 tables and 65 references

Date Published: January 1, 2002