Psychometric Evaluation of Work-Family Conflict Measures Using Classic Test and Item Response Theories

Hanyi Min, Russell A. Matthews, Julie Holliday Wayne, Rachel E. Parsons, Janet Barnes-Farrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Work-family researchers have widely accepted Greenhaus and Beutell’s (1985) conceptualization of work-family conflict (WFC), but no such consensus has been reached regarding a standard operationalization. There are many existing WFC scales, yet no systematic comparison and understanding of potential overlap across those scales. We conduct two investigations of four existing WFC scales that differ in multiple characteristics (i.e., content domain, number of items, response scale). Results from study 1 (N = 605) suggest that while confirmatory factor analyses indicate that different scales relate to the same higher-order construct, the magnitude of relationship between WFC and its correlates systematically varies as a function of the scale under consideration. In addition to replicating these findings in study 2 (N = 583), we applied an item response theory approach to demonstrate that different scales provide different levels of measurement precision for respondents experiencing different levels of WFC. Collectively, our results suggest that scholars must be thoughtful when choosing their operationalization of WFC, recognizing they may observe meaningfully different results based on the scale used, particularly as a function of dominant characteristics within their sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-138
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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