Recovery during the Daily Commute and Its Impact on the Relationship between Job Demands and Work-Life Conflict



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By extending research on the concept of borderlands in work-life boundary theory, as well as the strain-inducing effects of commute impedance, I argue that an individual’s daily commute from work to home constitutes a prime example of a boundary activity that bridges work life and personal life and affects one’s well-being. To test this theory, I hypothesize that individual variation in commute characteristics, including length, environment, and social experiences, affect one’s ability to experience recovery from work strain during the commute from work to home. Additionally, I attempt to replicate the well-supported finding that recovery attenuates the effects of job demands on work-life conflict and well-being within the commute setting. Two studies of self-report data from 478 adults in the Lagos, Nigeria, metropolitan area are used to evaluate the hypotheses proposed in this study. Overall, results from both studies provided some support of the proposed model, with commute environment positively predicting recovery in one study of higher SES adults. The same study demonstrated that recovery also attenuated the effects of work-life conflict and emotional exhaustion. The results of the additional study of lower SES adults provided contradictory results, suggesting that recovery may function differently in low SES populations.



Recovery, Commute, Carpooling, Work-life conflict, Job demands