Examining the Influence of Work–Family Conflict on Job Stress, Job Satisfaction, and Organizational Commitment Among Correctional Officers

AuthorSamuel G. Vickovic,Weston J. Morrow
Published date01 March 2020
Date01 March 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Examining the Influence of
Work–Family Conflict on Job
Stress, Job Satisfaction, and
Organizational Commitment
Among Correctional Officers
Samuel G. Vickovic
and Weston J. Morrow
Correctional officers perform a unique job that can lead to various negative outcomes. Under-
standing factors that can have harmful effects on important organizational attitudes like job stress,
job satisfaction, and organizational commitment is imperative for the effective management of
correctional institutions. Using survey data from 641 correctional officers employed at two
Southwestern state-run prison facilities, the current study examines the influence of two measures
of work–family conflict (WFC, strain- and time- based) on job stress, job satisfaction, and organi-
zational commitment while controlling for many known antecedents of these variables. The results
suggest that strain-based conflict is a significant predictor of job stress and job satisfaction, while
time-based conflict only predicted job satisfaction. Neither measure of WFC had a significant
relationship with organizational commitment. These findings are further contextualized in the
discussion section with an emphasis on potential policy implications.
correctional officers, work–family conflict, job stress, organizational commitment, job satisfaction
Correctional officers are the most important resource necessary for accomplishing the goals and
objectives of the institution (Archambeault & Archambeault, 1982; Lambert et al., 2009). These
officers frequently work in coercive environments (Armstrong & Griffin, 2004; Griffin, 2001) where
they must manage and control inmates who may be unwilling to cooperate, dangerous, unpredict-
able, and/or volatile (Armstrong & Griffin, 2004; Dowden & Tellier, 2004; Schaufeli & Peeters,
2000; Tracy & Scott, 2006). For such reasons, corre ctional scholars often refer to correctional
officers as “the backbone of correctional institutions” (Lambert, Kelley, & Hogan, 2013, p. 410).
California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA
University of Nevada Reno, Reno, NV, USA
Corresponding Author:
Samuel G. Vickovic, California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA 90840, USA.
Email: sam.vickovic@csulb.edu
Criminal Justice Review
2020, Vol. 45(1) 5-25
ª2019 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0734016819863099
Due to the distinctive work environment of correctional officers and the role these individuals
play in fulfilling the goals and objectives of the institution, researchers have focused a considerable
amount of time and energy toward understanding a number of key organizational attitudes associ-
ated with the healthy functioning of correctional institutions. Among these key organizational
attitudes, job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment are often of central interest
as they are significantly correlated with several important outcomes. Specifically, correctional
officers who are not stressed, are satisfied with their job, and are committed to the organization
experience increased job performance, prosocial organizational behavior, increased human service
orientation, decreased absenteeism, and decreased turnover intent (Garner, Knight, & Simpson,
2007; Hepburn & Knepper, 1993 ; Hogan, Lambert, & Griffin, 2013 ; Keinan & Malach-Pines,
2007; Lambert, Hogan, Kelley, Kim, & Garland, 2014; Lambert et al., 2009; Lambert, Hogan,
Paoline, & Baker, 2005; Maslach & Jackson, 1981; Schaufeli & Peeters, 2000). Considering the
outcomes associated with these organizational variables, it is important to understand what factors
influence the levels of job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment because it may
enhance institutional safety while simultaneously reducing fiscal costs.
One variable that has received attention among the predictors of these organizational attitudes
is work–family conflict (WFC). WFC occurs when aspects of work and family are incompatible
with one another (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985; Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964;
Lambert, Hogan, Camp, & Ventura, 2006). A growing body of research suggests that WFC is a
significant predictor of job stress (Armstrong, Atkin-Plunk, & Wells, 2015; Griffin, 2006;
Lambert et al., 2006; Lambert, Hogan, & Griffin, 2007; Lambert, Altheimer, & Hogan, 201 0a;
Liu, Lambert, Jiang, & Zhang, 2017; Triplett, Mullings, & Scarborough, 1999). Conversely, the
research concerning the relationship between WFC, organizational commitment, and job satisfac-
tion is mixed (Armstrong et al., 2015; Hogan, Lambert, Jenkins, & Wambold, 2006; Lambert
et al., 2006, 2007, 2010; Lambert, Hogan, & Barton, 2002a; Lambert, Hogan, Barton, Jiang, &
Baker, 2008).
Although previous research has provided a solid foundation for WFC scholarship, there is still a
considerable amount of room to develop this body of literature. The current study seeks to inform the
WFC literature in several ways by following up and expanding on previous research (see Hogan
et al., 2006; Lambert et al., 2002a, Lambert et al., 2008; Liu et al., 2017). Similar to replication
research, follow-up studies are a fundamental component of science because it helps to control for
sampling error, artifacts (lack of internal validity), and fraud; generalize the results to a larger and/or
different population; and authenticate hypotheses from previous research studies (Schmidt, 2009).
The current study, therefore, examines the effect of WFC on job stress, job satisfaction, and
organizational commitment from two prisons located in the Southwestern United States. Addition-
ally, the current study controls for many known antecedents of job stress, job satisfaction, and
organizational commitment that previous research did not include in their analyses. Through the
inclusion of such controls, the true strength of WFC will be better understood in the context of the
outcome variables of interest. The results of this study not only provide a better understanding of
these relationships but also offer a backdrop for policy recommendations concerning these organi-
zational attitudes.
The unique job that correctional officers perform can potentially have a negative impact on their
homelife. Although research regarding correctional officers focuses on many aspects of job duties
and the work environment, a growing body of literature examines how workplace responsibilities
and duties often conflict with correctional officers’ homelife resulting in problems in the workplace
(Griffin, 2006; Lambert et al., 2006, 2007, 2010, 2013; Lambert & Hogan, 2010b; Lambert, Hogan,
6Criminal Justice Review 45(1)

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