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This research work had three objectives: (1) to analyze the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Work–Family Guilt Scale, (2) to examine its invariance according to gender, and (3) to study the relationship between work–family guilt (WFG) and the different proposed antecedent (e.g., hours spent working, social support, rumination, and personality) or consequential factors (e.g., life satisfaction), noting any gender differences. The incidental sample comprised 225 parents who were in paid work and had at least one child attending nursery school (49.1% women; age of total sample = 36.88 on average). Multiple-group and confirmatory factor analyses, correlations, multiple regression, and moderation analyses were carried out. The WFGS reflected the same factorial structure in men and women, with two main factors: work interfering with family guilt (WIFG) and family interfering with work guilt (FIWG). No gender differences were found. The discrepancy associated with perfectionism was the only variable that was found to be a predictor of FIWG. The major predictors of WIFG were brooding from rumination and the number of hours spent working. WIFG was also associated with lower life satisfaction in women. The implications of these results are discussed, stressing the need to promote work–family reconciliation policies.
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International Journal of
Environmental Research
and Public Health
Article
Work–Family Guilt in Spanish Parents: Analysis of the
Measurement, Antecedents and Outcomes from a Gender
Perspective
Olga Gómez-Ortiz * and Andrea Roldán-Barrios


Citation: Gómez-Ortiz, O.;
Roldán-Barrios, A. Work–Family
Guilt in Spanish Parents: Analysis of
the Measurement, Antecedents and
Outcomes from a Gender Perspective.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,
18, 8229. https://doi.org/10.3390/
ijerph18158229
Academic Editors: Lucía Jiménez,
John Canavan, George Spiel and
Nevenka Zegarac
Received: 7 June 2021
Accepted: 30 July 2021
Published: 3 August 2021
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iations.
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/
4.0/).
Department of Psychology, Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación, University of Córdoba, Avda. San Alberto
Magno S/N, 14004 Córdoba, Spain; andrea.roldan.barrios@uco.es
*Correspondence: olga.gomez@uco.es; Tel.: +34-957-21-2603
Abstract:
This research work had three objectives: (1) to analyze the psychometric properties of the
Spanish version of the Work–Family Guilt Scale, (2) to examine its invariance according to gender,
and (3) to study the relationship between work–family guilt (WFG) and the different proposed
antecedent (e.g., hours spent working, social support, rumination, and personality) or consequential
factors (e.g., life satisfaction), noting any gender differences. The incidental sample comprised
225 parents who were in paid work and had at least one child attending nursery school (49.1%
women; age of total sample = 36.88 on average). Multiple-group and confirmatory factor analyses,
correlations, multiple regression, and moderation analyses were carried out. The WFGS reflected the
same factorial structure in men and women, with two main factors: work interfering with family
guilt (WIFG) and family interfering with work guilt (FIWG). No gender differences were found. The
discrepancy associated with perfectionism was the only variable that was found to be a predictor
of FIWG. The major predictors of WIFG were brooding from rumination and the number of hours
spent working. WIFG was also associated with lower life satisfaction in women. The implications of
these results are discussed, stressing the need to promote work–family reconciliation policies.
Keywords:
Work–Family Guilt Scale; parenthood; emotion; wellbeing; guilt; work–family con-
flict; personality
1. Introduction
The birth of a son or daughter heralds a period of personal transition in which parents
take on a new role and their identity is transformed. These new circumstances lead to
changes in personal and family routines, and the parents assume new responsibilities
with new experiences that can trigger a range of new emotional processes [
1
]. In recent
times, research has focused on the emotions that arise from the difficulty of balancing
the new duties involved in parenting with responsibilities at work [
2
,
3
]—in other words,
when the parents experience a major work–family conflict (WFC). The emotional processes
linked to WFC include a reduction in wellbeing [
4
6
]—or in life, family, and marital
satisfaction [
5
,
7
]—and especially the arousal of guilt [
8
]. This last emotion has received
much research attention in recent times [
6
,
9
11
]. However, it is necessary to study the guilt
linked to WFC and its related factors in depth in order to better understand it and to thus
be able to prevent it and its consequences.
Specific instruments have been designed to evaluate guilt related to work–family
conflict, such as the Work–Family Guilt Scale [
12
]. Although this scale has been validated
for use in different countries and has suitable psychometric properties [
9
,
13
], no specific
data are available that validate the scale in the Spanish population. The first objective of
this study was therefore to examine the psychometric properties of the Spanish version
of the scale. Given the existing controversy over the role of gender in the occurrence and
impact of guilt [
14
], we also adopted the following objectives: to analyze the factorial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18158229 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 2 of 17
invariance of this scale according to gender, to examine possible gender differences in the
dimensions of the WFGS, and to establish whether gender can moderate the effect of guilt
arising from work–family conflict on general life satisfaction. Finally, we aimed to clarify
the factors that give rise to this emotion, looking at both contextual and individual factors,
in order to guide future interventions that can avert the guilt produced by work–family
conflict and its consequences.
1.1. Work–Family Conflict (WFC)
One of the most accepted definitions of WFC is that given by Greenhaus and Beutell [
15
].
According to these authors, this conflict reduces to the perception that there is incompatibil-
ity between family and working roles, and this results in a difficulty to meet the demands
of both. In this way, dedicating time to tasks in one sphere makes it more difficult to
perform the tasks in the other [
15
], as the roles in each sphere, the support found in work
or family, the characteristics of each context, and the personal involvement in them predict
the perception of interference between them [
16
]. This conflict can be generated in either
direction, with working demands interfering with family tasks (i.e., work interfering with
family conflict) or vice versa (i.e., family interfering with work conflict) [17].
There are three main channels through which sources of conflict between the family
and work environment arise: the time it takes to complete tasks, the pressure generated, and
the feeling of overload that the roles produce [
15
,
17
]. Apart from the specific characteristics
of their job and family, an individual’s personal qualities can also worsen or alleviate
their perception of work–family conflict. Here, studies of personality traits have found
a positive association with neuroticism and a negative link with agreeableness [
18
20
].
As regards conscientiousness, contradictory results have been found, with some studies
suggesting that this trait creates greater work–family conflict [
21
] and others that it reduces
it [
18
,
20
]. Perfectionism also seems to play a key role in fostering such conflict; in particular,
maladaptive perfectionism has shown direct associations with work–family conflict [
19
],
and it also has an indirect link by increasing parental stress and emotional exhaustion
and reducing well-being [
22
]. On the other hand, adaptive perfectionism appears to help
individuals manage WFC by increasing their self-esteem and their perception of their
self-efficacy [23].
1.2. Work–Family Conflict and Gender
Although recent statistics have shown that European women work fewer hours than
men on average [
24
], research evidence seem to indicate that working mothers suffer
greater work–family conflict than fathers [
5
,
25
,
26
]. However, a recently published meta-
analysis states that the effect of the difference is only slight [
27
]. The greatest impact on
mothers arises from the couple’s unwillingness to share housework equally, which still
occurs today in many countries, with the current imbalance very similar to that before the
large-scale incorporation of women into the labor market [
24
,
28
]. Particularly in Spain, the
main responsibility for housework and family duties still falls on women, even in cases
where women work outside the home [
29
]. However, when both partners are in paid work,
this contributes to a redistribution of these tasks, especially those of looking after a family,
and this burden is to some extent shared between the partners [30].
This imbalance in the distribution of domestic tasks between partners contributes
to upholding traditional gender roles, which, although they are evolving, are doing so
slowly [
31
]. In fact, even in countries with more egalitarian views on gender equality and
female employment, women are expected to be more involved in household chores and
family duties [
4
]. These gender role attitudes further worsen work–family conflict for those
who hold them, as their roles in these domains become a key part of their identity [
15
].
Women are therefore more vulnerable to work–family conflict, since motherhood continues
to be a fundamental part of women’s lives [
32
,
33
], and the way mothers behave is still
closely linked to the model of intensive maternity taken for granted in previous genera-
tions [
34
]. This model features intense, short-term emotional dedication aimed at ensuring
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 3 of 17
the child’s wellbeing by satisfying his/her needs, with the mother’s needs relegated to
second place [
35
]. For this reason, any attempts to combine a working role with that of
wife/mother are often considered conflictive and produce a great sense of ambivalence,
resulting in women experiencing feelings of guilt when their work does not allow them to
be as available as they feel they should be for their family [
36
]. In most cases, mothers do
not only perceive work as interfering in their family, as they also worry that their family
duties, to which they dedicate more time than their partners [
29
], get in the way of their
role as a worker [27].
Nor are men exempt from this conflict, in one direction or another. Gender roles
are evolving, as are the beliefs held by couples, and fathers are becoming increasingly
aware of the need to be involved in looking after their family and doing the housework.
In fact, they often actively seek this role, and dedicate a great deal of time to their role
as parents and partners [
30
]. Thus, the traditional male stereotype of the “breadwinner”
or “head of the household” is slowly being replaced by a new model of masculinity
characterized by active involvement in domestic tasks [
37
]. However, the roles derived
from this model of masculinity are still in flux: they are neither fully defined nor assumed
by all men, while the breadwinner stereotype linked to the traditional “father figure” is
still dominant [
33
]. This puts many men in a complex dilemma, having to choose between
their family responsibilities, which men consider necessary and important, and their work
obligations, which men see as essential, as their work obligations are perceived as part of
their main role of supporting the family. This, in turn, produces strong feelings of guilt
when men do not get involved as much as they would like in either area [36].
1.3. Guilt Linked to Work–Family Conflict
Recently, many studies have focused on guilt linked to parenthood [
6
,
8
,
9
,
14
,
36
]. Since
there are still few studies in this field, and those that exist are presented mainly from a
managerial rather than a strictly psychological viewpoint, it is certainly worth investigating
further how this feeling arises in fathers and mothers.
Guilt is a moral emotion that stems from a person’s negative self-evaluation when
they believe that their conduct, thought, or emotion diverges from their ethical code or
from civic or social norms [
38
]. Recent neuroimaging evidence has shown that guilt is also
a complex emotion because it arises from the combination of different basic emotions [
39
].
It is often accompanied by the perception that someone or something will be harmed, and
this may impel the person to try to make amends [
40
]. Some approaches emphasize the
social role of this emotion, as it helps in avoiding behaviors that can threaten personal
relationships. However, other perspectives emphasize its connection with punishment for
bad actions, leading to more than just the possible amendment of behavior and producing
feelings that motivate people to avoid transgressing behaviors in the future [
41
]. There
are two key elements in the development of this emotion: the feeling of responsibility and
the perception of control. Guilt only appears, therefore, when a person feels responsible
for a certain outcome, thinking that it should have been foreseen and avoided or that
they should simply have acted differently [
42
]. This train of thought is related to the
perception of control, which assumes that when the individual acted in a certain way, they
were given the chance to choose between several options, and therefore had full control
over their actions and the consequences they might have for others [43]. In particular, the
guilt linked to work–family conflict is manifested by the need to choose between family
and work duties, when both are perceived as being necessary but are also conflictive and
incompatible, as they belong to different domains of the individual’s life and take up
a great deal of their time or energy, which makes them difficult to reconcile [
7
]. When
this perception of interference between activities belonging to different spheres of life is
produced, any choice that leads to participating more in the activities in one sphere at the
expense of the other will lead to dissatisfaction and a growing feeling of guilt [
44
,
45
]. There
is currently little evidence regarding guilt linked to work–family conflict, but what there
is shows that this feeling is not only very generalized, regardless of culture or country of
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 4 of 17
origin [
9
,
13
,
36
,
40
,
43
,
46
], but also can be extremely diverse and manifest in many different
ways, depending on the conflict that triggers it. In this context, some authors refer to
guilt as having two dimensions: first, work–family guilt, produced by work interfering
with family duties, and second, family–work guilt, when family responsibilities affect
work [12,14].
One of the most widely used instruments for evaluating the guilt generated by the
interference between family duties and obligations at work is the Work–Family Guilt
Scale [
12
], which covers two dimensions: “work interfering with family guilt” (WIFG:
four items) and “family interfering with work guilt” (FIWG: three items). This scale has
been validated for use in populations from different countries, including Spain, and shows
excellent cross-cultural invariance [
9
,
13
]. However, for its use in the Spanish population,
the psychometric properties of the scale have not been specifically reported, and there
is no Spanish version of this instrument available. Therefore, the main objective of this
study was to provide psychometric data for a Spanish version of the WFGS, examining its
factorial structure and invariance according to gender and its internal consistency. Previous
research using the WFGS in Canada, Portugal, and cross-culturally evidenced a two-factor
structure and indicated that it has very good internal consistency, with excellent convergent
and discriminant validity as well as good invariance when measuring gender [
9
,
12
,
13
].
Although the scale has proven its factorial invariance as a function of gender and there
are few gender differences in the scores of its component factors [
9
,
13
], not all previous
studies have concluded the same levels of guilt linked to work–family conflict in men and
women. In some research, using other evaluation procedures, higher levels of guilt linked
to work–family conflict were found in mothers, especially as regards work interfering with
family duties [
5
,
6
,
46
,
47
]. In others, the emphasis is slightly different, with this trend only
emerging when work–family conflict is very high [
10
] or when the mother is required to
work overtime [
48
]. Therefore, the second objective of this study was to check whether the
average score of the component factors varies between men and women.
1.4. Work–Family Guilt: Consequences and Related Factors
There are many negative effects of guilt connected to work–family conflict. At the
workplace level, although FIWG encourages pro-social behavior towards colleagues, WIFG
has been associated with worse performance at work, lower job satisfaction, and increased
“turnover intentions”, i.e., considering quitting [
11
,
13
,
14
,
49
]. Equally damaging is the
psychological impact of this emotion, as it is linked to lower satisfaction with life and family
and high levels of stress, especially when family duties interfere with work, although the
strength of these relationships depends on the country [
13
]. In all cases, not only does the
existence of feelings of guilt related to work–family conflict have consequences for the
parents themselves, but it also affects family dynamics, transforming parenting style and
changing parental involvement in the task of looking after children [6,10,50].
Although gender differences have been a main focus of the literature on work–family
conflict and its associated feelings of guilt [
14
], very little research has been done on the
possible differences in the psychological impact of this emotion on mothers or fathers.
However, the available literature points to mothers being more vulnerable to the effects
of WIFG. In particular, mothers experience higher levels of stress when they prioritize
work responsibilities over family duties [
48
,
51
]. Mothers are also more prone to seeing
their well-being reduced as a consequence of the guilt they feel in this situation and seem
to be more willing to display compensatory behavior to make amends for this feeling of
guilt [
6
]. However, the few studies on this subject are all of a qualitative nature, or focus
on work–family conflict or on general feelings of guilt rather than on the guilt associated
with this conflict. In addition, we found no studies that examined the influence of gender
on the guilt generated by family interference in work. Another objective of this research
was therefore to examine what influence the two dimensions of the WFGS have on life
satisfaction and the moderating role of gender.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 5 of 17
The personal impact of the feelings arising from a perceived conflict between work
and family can be very severe, and it is therefore useful to examine the factors that cause it
in order to help prevent it.
Among the factors linked to the development of WFG, the most important relates to
the time available to dedicate to the two spheres. Here, the hours spent at work can be an
accurate predictor of the guilt generated by the interference of work in the family [
13
], and
this seems to especially affect women [
10
]. A link has also been found between the type
of working day and WIFG, with this feeling being more prevalent in parents who work
full-time compared with those who work part-time [13].
Social support also affects the feelings expressed by parents, although the effects of
this variable and gender on WFG are complex and depend on the source, domain, and
type of support, as well as the direction of the WFG studied [
14
]. Aycan and Eskin [
5
]
found that for women, but not for men, the greater the emotional support given by the
partner and the boss/manager, the lower the conflict generated by the interference of work
in the family, and as a consequence, the lower the work-induced guilt. A study conducted
by Uysal Irak et al. [
52
] in a female population found the same trend. Liu et al. [
53
] also
related high task fairness, which depends on the way that a boss or supervisor manages a
work team, with a lower sense of guilt regarding the family and fewer complaints from
family members.
Apart from the contextual circumstances, individual factors also affect the perception
of work–family conflict and the associated feelings of guilt. The limited literature available
emphasizes the roles of the five major personality traits, as well as other factors, such as
perfectionism [
18
21
,
23
]. However, these five main personality traits have not been directly
linked to the development of WFG, although perfectionism has been associated both with
the development of general guilt [
54
] and with the family guilt and negative behavior
displayed by parents when they experience a major conflict between these two spheres
of life [
55
]. In addition, certain cognitive processes, such as rumination, have also been
linked to general guilt [
56
]. Rumination can be defined as a series of continuous thoughts
revolving around a common theme and recurring without direct environmental causa-
tion [
57
]. Although some authors assume that this is a maladaptive emotional regulation
strategy, since it is linked with several emotional problems [
58
,
59
], others claim it serves a
functional purpose as a response to the gap between the stated objectives and the results
achieved, which drives a person to achieve the former [
57
]. Considering both perspectives,
the existence of two forms of rumination has been proposed: adaptive rumination, or
“reflective pondering”, and maladaptive rumination, which operates through brooding
and self-reproach [60].
Although previous literature has examined the relationship between different factors
and the development of general guilt or guilt linked to work–family conflict, we found no
studies that examined how the predictive capacities of different factors contribute to the
evolution of this emotion or whether there are any gender differences. The final objective
of this research was therefore to study the possible influence of the number of hours
worked, social support, the five main personality traits, perfectionism, and rumination on
the two dimensions of work–family guilt, in order to clarify which of these factors is more
determinant of this phenomenon in men and women. These results will help us design
interventions aimed at preventing WFG, reconciling both the spheres of life and ultimately
promoting the wellbeing of dual-earner couples.
Taking into account the specific aims of this study, the following hypotheses were
formulated:
Hypothesis 1 (H1).
We hypothesized that the WFGS would display suitable psychometric proper-
ties, showing the same factorial structure in both men and women [9,12,13];
Hypothesis 2 (H2).
We expected to find no gender differences in either the WIFG or the FIWG
dimension scores, judging from the results of previous studies that have used the WFGS for this
purpose [9,13];
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 6 of 17
Hypothesis 3 (H3).
We expected to find a negative relationship between WIFG and life satisfac-
tion [8], with lower levels of life satisfaction in mothers experiencing WIFG [6];
Hypothesis 4a (H4a).
We hypothesized that to predict WIFG, the most important contextual
factor would be working hours, as the time devoted to work is one of the major sources of work–
family conflict [
15
,
17
], and consequently, of WIFG [
13
]—a factor would be especially important in
mothers [
10
], as it makes them feel they are unavailable at home, which goes against the gender role
beliefs and attitudes that still persist [35,36];
Hypothesis 4b (H4b).
We hypothesized that the perceived gap between standards set and results
achieved would be the factor contributing the most to the feeling of guilt linked to work–family
conflict [
19
,
21
], producing a greater perception that family duties interfere with work, since the
latter involves more clearly defined obligations and expectations [22].
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participants
The reference population for this study was Spanish fathers and mothers of schoolchil-
dren in the first and second cycles of nursery school education (aged 0 to 5 years) who
were in paid work. An incidental sampling approach was carried out to select the sample.
In this sense, the sample was chosen for its proximity and accessibility since the permission
of the schools was required to access the sample. A total of twelve nursery schools from
Córdoba and Badajoz (south of Spain) made up the sample. The final sample was made up
of 225 fathers and mothers. The ages of the participants ranged between 23 and
52 years
(
M = 36.88
; SD = 4.96). The participants worked between 3 and 14 h a day (
M = 7.67
;
SD = 1.75
), and 41.8% had one child, 53.8% had two children, and 4.4% had three children.
Regarding their living circumstances, 47.8% of the sample lived in small towns (fewer than
10,000 inhabitants), 50.4% in the city (provincial capital: 325,701 inhabitants), and 1.8% in
houses in the countryside. As they could be important for the interpretation of results,
some data are offered that take into account gender differences. The men (50.9% of the
total sample) were aged between 25 and 57 years (M = 38.12, SD = 4.94) and worked 8.27 h
each day on average (SD = 1.56). They had 1.65 children on average and 96.5% lived with
their partner. The women’s ages were between 23 and 48 years (M = 35.60, SD = 4.69), and
they worked 7.02 h a day on average (SD = 1.72). They had 1.60 children on average, and
93.6% lived with their partner. Among the limitations of this research are the sample size
and its non-representativeness of the population.
2.2. Instruments
2.2.1. The Work–Family Guilt Scale (WFGS)
This scale, designed originally by McElwain [
12
], allowed us to identify the presence of
guilt produced by the intersection between work and family. The scale consists of
7 items
,
organized into two factors: work interference with family guilt (WIFG: 4 items, e.g., I
regret not being around for my family as much as I would like to) and family interference
with work guilt (FIWG: 3 items, e.g., I feel bad because I frequently have to take time
away from work to deal with issues happening at home). Following the standards of the
most recent validation [
9
], the items are rated on a 1–7 Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree,
7 = strongly agree). The internal consistency of the scale and its factors is excellent, showing
values >0.80 in most of the samples for which this instrument has been validated [9,13].
2.2.2. The Short Form of the Almost Perfect Scale–Revised (SAPS)
This instrument [
61
] consists of an 8-item scale with 7 Likert-type response options
(1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree), and it covers two dimensions: standards (e.g., I
set very high standards for myself), which assesses expectations of personal performance,
and discrepancy (e.g., My performance rarely measures up to my standards), which refers
to self-critical perfectionism. In this study, the internal consistency of both the general
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 7 of 17
scale (
α
= 0.76) and the subscales (
α
standards = 0.77;
α
discrepancy = 0.79) was suitable.
The AFC results were suitable: S-B
χ2
= 81.05 (19); p= 0.000; NNFI = 0.90; CFI = 0.91;
RMSEA = 0.12; 90% confidence interval for RMSEA = 0.09–0.15.
2.2.3. The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)
This scale was designed by Diener et al. [
62
] and validated for use in the Spanish
population by Moyano-Díaz et al. [
63
]. It consists of five items (e.g., The conditions of
my life are excellent) with a Likert-type response scale (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly
agree). The internal consistency shown in the present study was satisfactory (α= 0.82).
2.2.4. The Ruminative Responses Scale (RRS)
This scale was designed by Nolen-Hoeksema and Morrow [
64
] and adapted for the
Spanish Language by Hervás [
65
]. It consists of ten Likert-type items (1 = hardly ever,
4 = nearly always) organized into two factors: reflection (reflective pondering, e.g., Write
down what you are thinking and analyze it) and brooding (tendency to self-reproach,
e.g., Thinking “Why do I have problems other people don’t have?”). In the present study,
this scale offered a good internal consistency index (
α
= 0.83), as did its dimensions
(αreflection = 0.78; αbrooding = 0.78).
2.2.5. The Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS)
This instrument was designed by Zimet et al. [
66
] and adapted for the Spanish Lan-
guage by Landeta and Calvete [
67
]. It evaluates the levels of perceived social support
through 12 items with 7 Likert-type response options (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly
agree). It consists of three factors, each referring to a person/group who give support: a
significant other (e.g., There is a special person who is around when I am in need), family
(e.g., My family really tries to help me), and friends (e.g., I have friends with whom I can
share my joys and sorrows). The scale presents good internal consistency (
α
= 0.90), as do
the 3 subscales (αsignificant other = 0.89, αfamily = 0.88, αfriends = 0.91).
The number of hours spent working each day was evaluated by directly asking
the participants.
2.3. Procedure
To start with, the WFGS was translated into Spanish via “parallel back-translation” [
68
].
As regards data collection, permission was requested from the schools to access the chil-
dren’s parents as possible participants. The schools gave the questionnaires and consent
forms to the families to complete at home and explained that their participation was vol-
untary, anonymous, and confidential. The instructions specified that if the parents are
together and both decide to fill out the questionnaire, they should do so without shar-
ing any information with their partner. The existence of couple relationships among the
participants was not considered, so their responses were independent from each other.
2.4. Data Analysis
Descriptive statistics were explored as a preliminary analysis. To establish the valid-
ity based on the internal structure of the questionnaire and to determine if the original
factorial structure could be replicated, we also conducted a confirmatory factor analysis
(CFA). Given the ordinal nature of the questionnaire’s variables, the maximum likelihood
estimation method with robust correction was used [
69
]. The model adjustment was eval-
uated using the comparative fit index (CFI), the non-normed fit index (NNFI) (
0.95),
the standardized root-mean-square residual (SRMR) and the root-mean-square error of
approximation (RMSEA) (
0.08) [
70
]. A multiple-group analysis was then conducted to
generalize the model across the gender groups. This approach compares a set of increas-
ingly restrictive models. In this case, four models were compared: model 1, in which the
same factorial structure was applied to all the groups (configural invariance); model 2,
in which the covariances were restricted and kept equal between the groups; model 3,
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 8 of 17
in which the factor loadings were restricted and kept equal between the groups (metric
invariance); and model 4, in which both the factor loadings and the covariances were
restricted and kept equal between the groups (residual invariance) [
71
]. The invariance was
assessed in light of the results of the chi-square differentiation test (
χ2
, and nonsignificant
changes were taken as indicative of invariance between groups [
72
]. Furthermore, we
assessed the differences between the other fit indexes (NNFI, CFI, RMSEA, and SRMR),
wherein changes
0.01 were taken to indicate the presence of invariance [
73
]. The CFA and
multiple-group analysis were conducted using the EQS 6.2 program [
74
]. The reliability of
the scale and subscales was calculated using Cronbach’s alpha (α> 0.70).
Independent t-tests were carried out to determine possible gender differences among
the variables. To examine the relationship between the two forms of guilt linked to work–
family conflict and the other variables, we calculated the correlations between them.
To test the moderation effect of gender on the relationship between WFG and life
satisfaction, the PROCESS macro for SPSS was used [
75
]. The significance of the conditional
direct effects was estimated through bias-corrected bootstrap confidence intervals (CI)
derived from 5000 bootstrap resamples. The Johnson–Neyman technique was used to
determine from these values for gender whether the association between work–family
guilt and life satisfaction was significant. The significance level adopted for all analyses
was 0.05.
Finally, to determine the extent to which the contextual and individual variables could
act as antecedents of work–family guilt, a multiple linear regression analysis was per-
formed, using the successive step method. The WIFG and FIWG variables were used as the
criterion variable, and the hours spent at work, the different kinds of social support, and the
questionnaire scores for rumination, SAP-S, and Mini-IPIP were used as predictor variables.
In any case, the cross-sectional nature of the study did not allow causal relationships to
be established, which means that all influencing relationships should be interpreted with
caution. The regression analysis was carried out by specifically selecting men and women.
The independent t-test, correlation, and regression analyses were performed using SPSS
23.0 (IBM Corp., Chicago, IL, USA).
3. Results
3.1. Descriptive Analyses
Table 1shows the means, typical deviations, and indexes of skewness and kurtosis
for each item of the WFGS. The highest mean was 4.09 (I regret not being around for my
family as much as I would like to) and the lowest was 1.79 (I feel bad because I frequently
have to take time away from work to deal with issues happening at home).
3.2. Multiple-Group, Confirmatory Factorial Analyses, and Gender Differences
The results of the CFA verify the original factorial structure of the two factors (WIFG
and FIWG), showing the following fit indexes:
χ2
S-B = 22.59 (13); p= 0.04; NNFI = 0.98;
CFI = 0.98; SRMR = 0.06; RMSEA = 0.07. All the factor loadings were significant and high
(0.60
λ
s
0.89) (see Figure 1). The standardized factor loadings (R
2
) for each item
ranged between 0.34 and 0.79 and can be seen in Table 1.
In the multiple-group analysis, four progressively more restricted models were com-
pared. The chi-squared differences were not significant between models 1 and 2 (0.33;
p= 0.86
), models 1 and 3 (5.78, p= 0.80), or models 1 and 4 (5.96, p= 0.87). In addition,
the changes in CFI, NNFI, RMSEA, and SRMR were minimal in all the comparisons (see
Table 2).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 9 of 17
Table 1.
English and Spanish items of WFGS, descriptive statistics, and standardized factor loadings
of AFC (R2).
M SD S K R2
1. I regret not being around for my
family as much as I would like to (Me
arrepiento de no estar cerca de mi familia
tanto como me gustaría)
4.09 2.36 0.13 1.54 0.60
2. I feel guilty for not being able to take
care of my child(ren) as well as I would
like to (Me siento culpable por no poder
cuidar a mi(s) hijo/a(s) tan bien como me
gustaría)
3.46 2.15 0.25 1.39 0.69
3. I feel bad because I frequently have to
take time away from my family to deal
with issues happening at work (Me
siento mal porque con frecuencia tengo
que dejar a mi familia para ocuparme de
asuntos profesionales o laborales)
4.03 2.2 0.07 1.43 0.60
4. I feel guilty for not showing as much
interest in my spouse/partner as I wish
(Me siento culpable por no mostrarle a
mi pareja tanto interés como me gustaría)
3.92 2.12 0.08 1.39 0.36
5. I am worried about the quality of my
work because I often put my family
before my job (Me preocupa la calidad de
mi trabajo porque a menudo antepongo
mi familia al trabajo)
2.97 1.95 0.53 1.02 0.34
6. I regret missing work due to family
responsibilities (Me arrepiento de haber
faltado al trabajo debido a mis
responsabilidades familiares)
1.82 1.41 1.71 2.13 0.79
7. I feel bad because I frequently have to
take time away from work to deal with
issues happening at home (Me siento mal
porque tengo que ausentarme
frecuentemente del trabajo para lidiar
con los problemas que suceden en casa)
1.79 1.37 1.93 3.32 0.68
Note. M = mean; SD = standard deviation; S = skewness; K = kurtosis; R2= standarized factor loading.
Table 2. Multiple-group analysis of WFGS: configural, metric, and residual invariance.
Models S-B χ2df S-B
χ2/df pNNFI CFI RMSEA SRMR S-B χ2pdf NNFI CFI RMSEA SRMR
Model 1 35.70 26 1.37 0.09 0.97 0.98 0.06 0.08
Model 2 36.03 27 1.33 0.11 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 0.33 0.86 1 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Model 3 41.48 31 1.33 0.09 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 5.78 0.80 5 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Model 4 41.66 32 1.30 0.11 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 5.96 0.87 6 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Note. Model 1 = without constraints; Model 2 = constrained covariances; Model 3 = constrained factor loadings; Model 4 = constrained
covariances and factor loadings.
No gender differences were found in either the WIFG scale (t(206) =
0.27; p= 0.78;
mean women = 3.92; mean men = 3.85) or in the FIWG (t(214) = 1.16; p= 0.24; mean women
= 2.07; mean men = 2.27). The scale showed an acceptable internal consistency (
α
= 0.78),
as did the factors (αWIFG = 0.80; αFIWG = 0.69).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 10 of 17
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, x FOR PEER REVIEW 10 of 18
Figure 1. CFA standardized coefficients of the items in the WFGS. Note: * = p 0.05.
In the multiple-group analysis, four progressively more restricted models were com-
pared. The chi-squared differences were not significant between models 1 and 2 (0.33; p =
0.86), models 1 and 3 (5.78, p = 0.80), or models 1 and 4 (5.96, p = 0.87). In addition, the
changes in CFI, NNFI, RMSEA, and SRMR were minimal in all the comparisons (see Table
2).
Table 2. Multiple-group analysis of WFGS: configural, metric, and residual invariance.
Models S-B χ
2
df S-B χ
2
/
df p NNFI CFI RMSEA SRMR S-B χ
2
p df NNFI CFI RMSEA SRMR
Model 1 35.70 26 1.37 0.09 0.97 0.98 0.06 0.08 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Model 2 36.03 27 1.33 0.11 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 0.33 0.86 1 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Model 3 41.48 31 1.33 0.09 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 5.78 0.80 5 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Model 4 41.66 32 1.30 0.11 0.98 0.98 0.05 0.08 5.96 0.87 6 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.00
Note. Model 1 = without constraints; Model 2 = constrained covariances; Model 3 = constrained factor loadings; Model 4 =
constrained covariances and factor loadings.
No gender differences were found in either the WIFG scale (t(206) = 0.27; p = 0.78;
mean women = 3.92; mean men = 3.85) or in the FIWG (t(214) = 1.16; p = 0.24; mean women
= 2.07; mean men = 2.27). The scale showed an acceptable internal consistency (α = 0.78),
as did the factors (αWIFG = 0.80; αFIWG = 0.69).
3.3. Relationship between Work–Family Guilt, Life Satisfaction, Social Support, Perfectionism,
Ruminative Responses, and the Big Five Personality Traits
The correlation analysis (see Table 3) showed the following significant relationships:
FIWG was directly related to perfectionism and working hours, while WIFG was posi-
tively related to the brooding dimension of rumination and working hours and negatively
related to openness to experience. None of the other relationships were significant.
Figure 1. CFA standardized coefficients of the items in the WFGS. Note: * = p0.05.
3.3. Relationship between Work–Family Guilt, Life Satisfaction, Social Support, Perfectionism,
Ruminative Responses, and the Big Five Personality Traits
The correlation analysis (see Table 3) showed the following significant relationships:
FIWG was directly related to perfectionism and working hours, while WIFG was positively
related to the brooding dimension of rumination and working hours and negatively related
to openness to experience. None of the other relationships were significant.
Table 3. Pearson correlations between WIFG and FIWG, antecedents, and outcomes variables.
WFG LS WH RpS FaS FriS Brood. Refl. Stand. Disc. Ext. ES Agr. Conc. Op.
WIFG
0.12
0.24 * 0.01
0.11
0.01
0.24 * 0.07 0.02 0.12 0.01
0.07
0.04
0.00 0.17 *
FIWG
0.03 0.19 * 0.01
0.09
0.04
0.06 0.09 0.13 0.29 *
0.05
0.08
0.09
0.12
0.04
Note. LS = life satisfaction; WH = worked hours; RpS = relevant person support; FaS = family support; FriS = friends support; Brood. =
brooding; Ref. = reflection; Stand. = standards; Disc. = discrepancy; Ext = extraversion; ES = emotional stability; Agr. = agreeableness;
Conc. = conscientiousness; OP = openness. * = p0.05.
In the moderation analysis, although no direct relation was found between gender
(
β= 0.35
, SE = 0.24, p> 0.05) or WIFG (
β
= 0.12, SE = 0.09, p> 0.05) and life satisfaction, it
was clear that the effect of the former variable on life satisfaction was moderated by gender
(
β
=
0.11, SE = 0.05, p< 0.05). Assessment via the Johnson–Neyman technique showed that
the positive association between WIFG and life satisfaction was only significant for women,
who constituted 49.1% of the participants (see Figure 2), and no significant relationships
were found between FIWG and life satisfaction, either directly (
β
= 0.15, SE = 0.12, p> 0.05)
or as moderated by gender (β=0.09, SE = 0.08, p> 0.05).
The results of the regression analyses are also shown schematically in Table 4. The
model for predicting WIFG in women was significant (F(78) = 12.07; p
0.001), with
self-reproach and hours spent at work selected as the predictive variables, which accounted
for 22.1% of the variance in the WIFG. The model was also significant when applied to
men (F(84) = 6.95; p
0.001), and it established the same two predictive variables as in
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 11 of 17
women, with the addition of openness to experience. This model accounted for 17.5% of
the WFG variance.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, x FOR PEER REVIEW 11 of 18
Table 3. Pearson correlations between WIFG and FIWG, antecedents, and outcomes variables.
WFG LS WH RpS FaS FriS Brood. Refl. Stand. Disc. Ext. ES Agr. Conc. Op.
WIFG 0.12 0.24 * 0.01 0.11 0.01 0.24 * 0.07 0.02 0.12 0.01 0.07 0.04 0.00 0.17 *
FIWG 0.03 0.19 * 0.01 0.09 0.04 0.06 0.09 0.13 0.29 * 0.05 0.08 0.09 0.12 0.04
Note. LS = life satisfaction; WH = worked hours; RpS = relevant person support; FaS = family support; FriS = friends
support; Brood. = brooding; Ref. = reflection; Stand. = standards; Disc. = discrepancy; Ext = extraversion; ES = emotional
stability; Agr. = agreeableness; Conc. = conscientiousness; OP = openness. * = p 0.05.
In the moderation analysis, although no direct relation was found between gender (β
= 0.35, SE = 0.24, p > 0.05) or WIFG (β = 0.12, SE = 0.09, p > 0.05) and life satisfaction, it was
clear that the effect of the former variable on life satisfaction was moderated by gender (β
= 0.11, SE = 0.05, p < 0.05). Assessment via the Johnson–Neyman technique showed that
the positive association between WIFG and life satisfaction was only significant for
women, who constituted 49.1% of the participants (see Figure 2), and no significant rela-
tionships were found between FIWG and life satisfaction, either directly (β = 0.15, SE =
0.12, p > 0.05) or as moderated by gender (β = 0.09, SE = 0.08, p > 0.05).
Figure 2. Johnson–Neyman plot of the moderating effect of gender on the relationship between sat-
isfaction with life (SWLS) and work interference with family guilt (WIFG).
The results of the regression analyses are also shown schematically in Table 4. The
model for predicting WIFG in women was significant (F(78) = 12.07; p 0.001), with self-
reproach and hours spent at work selected as the predictive variables, which accounted
for 22.1% of the variance in the WIFG. The model was also significant when applied to
men (F(84) = 6.95; p 0.001), and it established the same two predictive variables as in
women, with the addition of openness to experience. This model accounted for 17.5% of
the WFG variance.
Meanwhile, the FIWG prediction model was significant in both women (F(81) = 7.73;
p 0.01) and men (F(86) = 9.19; p 0.01). In all cases, the discrepancy related to perfection-
ism was selected as the predictor variable. The models accounted for 7.7% and 8.7% of the
variance in the FIWG for women and men, respectively.
Figure 2.
Johnson–Neyman plot of the moderating effect of gender on the relationship between
satisfaction with life (SWLS) and work interference with family guilt (WIFG).
Table 4. Regression models to predict WIFG and FIWG.
Women Men
WIFG
R2= 22.1%
Worked hours (β= 0.39 ***)
Brooding (β= 0.28 **)
R2= 17.5%
Brooding (β= 0.29 **)
Worked hours (β= 0.23 *)
Opennes (β=0.22 *)
FIWG R2= 7.7%
Discrepancy (β= 0.29 **)
R2= 8.7%
Discrepancy (β= 0.31 **)
Note. * = p0.05; ** = p0.01; *** = p0.0.
Meanwhile, the FIWG prediction model was significant in both women (
F(81) = 7.73
;
p0.01
) and men (F(86) = 9.19; p
0.01). In all cases, the discrepancy related to perfec-
tionism was selected as the predictor variable. The models accounted for 7.7% and 8.7% of
the variance in the FIWG for women and men, respectively.
4. Discussion
The main aim of this study was to verify the psychometric properties of the Spanish
version of the Work–Family Guilt Scale [
12
]. These properties were good, with the scale
particularly showing suitable internal validity, with a structure made up of two factors:
WIFG and FIWG. As we had hypothesized, this pattern was consistently invariant across
gender groups, in line with previous studies [
9
,
13
]. Both factors showed adequate internal
consistency.
No gender differences were found in either of the two dimensions of the WFGS, which
thus confirms our second hypothesis. These results coincide with those of previous studies
that used the same scale [
9
,
14
] but not with those that used different assessment instru-
ments or procedures [
5
,
6
,
46
,
47
]. This highlights the need to standardize the measuring
instruments used for evaluating guilt linked to work–family conflict. This would allow
us to draw more robust conclusions about the existence of this emotion in fathers and
mothers and the possible differences between them. The results obtained, when interpreted
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 12 of 17
in light of the existing literature, show that men and women manifest similar levels of guilt
generated by the interference of work in the family, or vice versa. These findings also corre-
spond with men’s increasing involvement in housework and family responsibilities [
30
,
37
],
which makes them just as vulnerable as women to experiencing a conflict between work
and family life [
27
], and therefore, vulnerable to developing feelings of guilt linked to this
conflict. Furthermore, it is important to consider not only the constraints on time at home
but also those at work because both are important sources of work–family conflict [
16
,
17
],
and hence, guilt [
8
]. In this sense, it is not surprising to find no gender differences be-
cause although women dedicate more time to domestic and family tasks, men’s average
paid work hours are still higher than those of women, as can be found via international
comparisons [
24
] and also in the results of this study. Nevertheless, these results could be
moderated by the influence of certain variables, such as the level of work–family conflict or,
particularly, the circumstances in the workplace or in the family context, as other studies
have shown [10,48].
On the other hand, the results of this study did reveal gender differences in the impact
of WIFG on life satisfaction. In particular, it was found that the relationship between WIFG
and life satisfaction was only significant for women. However, no significant relationship
was found between FIWG and life satisfaction, nor was this relationship moderated by
gender. Furthermore, the results of the correlation analysis did not reveal any significant
relationship between life satisfaction and either of the two dimensions of the WFGS scale,
so our third hypothesis was only partially confirmed. These results are not fully consistent
with the existing literature, in which WIFG is inversely related to life satisfaction, although
the effect size of this relationship seems to depend on the country (which in Spain is
low) [
8
]. Further research is required in order to clarify the relationship between these
two constructs, in which not only culture but also gender seem to play a key role. From
this viewpoint, other studies report more profound consequences for mothers when they
prioritize work responsibilities over family duties [
48
,
51
], as well as more guilt related
to handling this balance [
6
]. Our results are extremely interesting from the point of view
of gender differences because they show that although men and women may display
similar levels of guilt linked to work–family conflict, the latter are affected more, especially
when the feeling of guilt arises from the perception that work is interfering with family
obligations. One explanation for this could be found in the gender roles and beliefs that
still prevail in our society, since holding down a paid job makes it impossible for women
to fulfil the role of mother and/or wife with all the commitment and availability that is
traditionally expected [
35
]. This ideal of motherhood is still latent in today’s society [
4
,
34
]
and means women experience significant feelings of guilt when they fail to meet the implicit
conventions [
36
], with the assumption that their behavior could in some way be harmful
to their children or to the family as a whole [
40
] and that it is all the result of a voluntary
choice [
43
]. The feeling of remorse produced by this failure to adhere to gender role
standards has a significant personal impact [
41
]. However, in addition, recent qualitative
studies suggest that as a result of this feeling of guilt, mothers are even more prone than
fathers to displaying compensatory behavior to alleviate this guilt. One result of this is
that women sacrifice their leisure time or personal time and dedicate more time to their
children, thus adjusting to prevailing gender norms [
6
], which could have a knock-on effect
on their life satisfaction. Further studies need to be conducted in this field to determine
how guilt linked to work–family conflict ends up compromising mothers’ life satisfaction.
The existing studies suggest that, despite the fact that gender roles and beliefs are evolving,
fathers continue to take greater responsibility for economically supporting the family than
looking after it [
24
,
36
,
46
], which could account for the lesser impact of this kind of guilt in
this group. Further research, however, is required to draw more robust conclusions.
The two predictor variables that best predicted WIFG were brooding resulting from
rumination and hours dedicated to work. In men, openness to experience was the most
noteworthy predictor variable among the factors of personality.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 13 of 17
Although, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the relationship
between WIFG and brooding has been reported, it is not an unusual finding if we take
into account the relationship between rumination and general feelings of guilt [
56
]. As
we found in this study, self-reproach could be one of the main causes of WIFG. If these
thoughts are not regulated, they could well lead to an imbalance, in line with findings
from previous research [
59
,
60
,
64
,
65
]. However, they could also represent a moral tool [
40
]
for inducing compensatory behavior in the parents, which modulates their presence and
availability in the home [
6
,
50
]. The utility of this emotional regulation strategy should thus
be evaluated to decide whether the guilt linked to work–family conflict could have the
adaptive function that Martin and Tesser [
57
] attributed to it, as well as examining any
possible gender differences in this variable [64].
The only contextual variable linked to WIFG was the number of hours spent at work,
which partly confirms H4a, as this relationship was found in both men and women. This
result is consistent with those from the previous literature that identified the time factor as
not only one of the main sources of work–family conflict [
15
,
17
] but also as an important
predictor of WIFG [
13
], especially in women [
10
]. The fact that in our study it is also
a powerful predictor of WIFG in men could imply two things: first, its robustness as a
predictor of this emotion, and second, taking into account previous results that found that
both working parents seem to share this feeling, albeit with different implications, and
that it is triggered by very similar factors. It may be that differences in this aspect depend
more on a person’s orientation and adherence to gender roles or culture than simply on
gender itself [
45
]. This would reinforce the idea that in countries such as Spain, where great
importance is attached to the family and a growing number of individuals are showing
a preference for developing a symmetrical or egalitarian family model (in which both
partners work outside the home and share the housework and childcare) [
76
], men and
women are equally sensitive to the interference of work. Further studies are needed to
confirm this theory.
Although previous studies have highlighted social support as a key factor in the
experience of work–family conflict and its derived feelings of guilt [
5
52
], this was not
found in our study. It could be that when social support competes with other variables of
a different nature, its ability to predict the guilt linked to work–family conflict decreases,
thus relegating it to a secondary predictor of this emotion. Another possible reason is that
the type of support evaluated on this scale may not be so relevant in explaining WFG [
14
].
These questions need to be clarified in future research.
The only personality trait found to be linked to WIFG was openness to experience, but
this was only in men, and it was inversed. Our findings seem to indicate that men who are
more open to experience are less likely to experience WIFG. To the best of our knowledge,
no previous studies have linked openness to experience with guilt linked to work–family
conflict. Perhaps, the interest in diverse cultural, artistic, or literary matters inherent in
this trait leads to greater involvement in activities that distract from this feeling and, as
such, regulate it [
77
]. However, if the individual does not have enough time to get involved
in these activities because their domestic responsibilities do not permit it [
28
,
29
], or if
they dedicate all their free time to their children to make up for work-related absences [
6
],
this trait may not provide effective protection. This situation may underlie the fact that
“openness to experience” does not feature in women as a protective element of WIFG,
although this needs to be verified empirically.
The only variable to emerge as a predictor of FIWG in both men and women was
the discrepancy related to perfectionism, thus confirming Hypothesis 4b. Although there
has been little research into the relationship between perfectionism and guilt linked to
work–family conflict, the maladaptive version of this feature has been found to worsen
work–family conflict [
19
], to generate guilt and stress in the family [
55
], and to lead to
cynicism and exhaustion at work [
22
]. Our results agree with this, showing that individuals
who perceive important discrepancies between their life goals and their results are at
greater risk of feeling guilty as a consequence of FIWG. As we hypothesized previously, it
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 14 of 17
is quite likely that a relationship exists between discrepancy and FIWG simply because
the workplace offers better-defined goals, with clearer targets set, therefore inducing the
possibility of perceiving discrepancies in reaching them [
22
]. When these discrepancies at
work are felt to have resulted from family interference, FIWG arises.
The results of this research have different practical implications. On the one hand, they
highlight the need to improve reconciliation policies in Spain, especially those concerning
reducing the amount of time spent at work to promote greater involvement at the family
level and thus mitigate WIFG. From this viewpoint, a reduction should be considered in
working hours for parents with children in education, or other measures such as flexi-
ble schedules, goal-orientated work objectives, working remotely, or compressed work
weeks [
78
,
79
]. Furthermore, this study shows that work–family conflict and the feelings
that emerge from it depend not only on the conditions of both contexts, which are beyond
the individual’s control, but also on the individuals themselves. This provides an optimistic
vision for handling this conflict, in that it is not only up to the state or private companies to
endorse conciliation policies (and who may adhere to these policies to a greater or lesser
extent), but it is also up to the individual. In this regard, any psychological intervention, in
light of the results obtained, should focus on three essential cornerstones: (1) promoting
effective strategies for emotional regulation to prevent feelings of self-reproach when par-
ents are simply unable to spend more time with the family; (2) regulating perfectionism by
detecting discrepancies and encouraging a more realistic approach to working standards
adjusted to the situation of being a parent; (3) encouraging personal time management in
which self-care has a place, especially in mothers, who are prone to sacrificing this time in
order to look after their children [6,35].
Among the limitations of this research are the sample size and its lack of representa-
tiveness of the population. Likewise, the cross-sectional nature of the study does not allow
causal relationships to be established, which means that all influencing relationships should
be interpreted with caution. In future research, longitudinal and cross-cultural studies
would be needed to confirm these relationships and others arising from this discussion.
5. Conclusions
The results of this research verify the validity and reliability of the Spanish version of
the WFGS. They also confirm the absence of gender differences regarding WFG—although
differences do exist in the impact of this emotion—as well as establishing some of the
factors related to this guilt and which could thus contribute to its prevention. Regarding
these factors, the number of hours spent at work and the engagement in brooding were
the most important predictors of WIFG, while the discrepancy related to perfectionism
was the only variable related to FIWG. In order to mitigate these feelings, and thus favor
parents’ and children’s wellbeing, families need to feel more supported by the State, with
more measures to better reconcile family and work life.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, O.G.-O.; methodology, O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; software,
O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; validation, O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; formal analysis, O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; investiga-
tion, O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; resources, O.G.-O.; data curation, O.G.-O. and A.R.-B.; writing—original
draft preparation, A.R.-B.; writing—review and editing, O.G.-O.; visualization, O.G.-O.; supervision,
O.G.-O.; project administration, O.G.-O.; funding acquisition, O.G.-O. Both authors have read and
agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding:
This research was funded by the Government of Spain (Agencia Estatal de Investigación),
grant number PSI2019-111241RA.
Institutional Review Board Statement:
The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the
Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Córdoba.
Informed Consent Statement:
Informed consent was obtained from all participants involved in
the study.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021,18, 8229 15 of 17
Data Availability Statement:
Data can be made available for consultation upon request to the
corresponding author and with permission of the participants of the study.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... Most of the studies on the impact of perfectionism on psychosocial adjustment have focused on samples of students [78]. However, recent studies have examined both forms of parental perfectionism and their relationship with work-family conflict-related guilt and found that discrepancies were only predictive of levels of guilt generated by work interfering in family life and not vice versa [79]. ...
... The latter has been linked to high levels of parental stress [82,83]. This form of rumination also seems to foster the guilt that parents feel regarding work interference in family life [79]. ...
... Parents with a positive predisposition towards having more children will excel in their levels of life satisfaction [39][40][41], agreeableness, extroversion [42][43][44] and social support [32,57]. In contrast, those who are negatively predisposed to having more children will show higher levels of parental stress [73][74][75], self-criticism, discrepancies, guilt linked to the work-family conflict [79], neuroticism and openness [42,43] and will tend to be older [64][65][66]. They will also perceive increased irritability in their children [84,85]. ...
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We test whether work-to-family guilt mediates the relationship between work-to-family conflict and job satisfaction, and extend the contingent perspective of source attribution by exploring the moderating roles of segmentation preference and family collectivism orientation. Using a scenario experiment in Study 1 (N = 66), we found evidence supporting the mediating role of work-to-family guilt. In Study 2, we tested a moderated mediation model. Using survey data collected from Chinese bank employees and their spouses (N = 145), we found that the positive relationship between a person’s work-to-family conflict rated by his or her spouse and the person’s work-to-family guilt was stronger when the person preferred to segment work from family. We also found that the negative relationship between work-to-family guilt and job satisfaction was stronger for people with high levels of family collectivism orientation. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Objective The aim of the present meta-analysis was to examine the relationship between the Big Five personality traits and emotion regulation strategies. Method Studies were identified in PsycArticles, Medline, and Eric databases. Only empirical studies were included. Results Out of 32,656 identified articles, 132 studies (156 independent samples, 46,345 participants, and 753 effect sizes) met the inclusion criteria. The effect sizes of the r-type were obtained from all studies. The data were analyzed with random effects model. Lower level of neuroticism and higher levels of extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness were associated with greater typically adaptive emotion regulation strategies (reappraisal, problem solving and mindfulness) and lower typically maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (avoidance and suppression). Additionally, in a few cases, the associations were stronger in clinical samples than in nonclinical samples, in females than males, and in samples reporting dispositional emotion regulation compared to samples reporting situational emotion regulation. Conclusion These results were discussed in terms of their importance for possible intervention strategies.