Background and purpose: Work-life conflict is relatively high among frontline hospital employees at an Emergency department1,2. The stress of hospital employee in the emergency department is well established, because of long working hours and high workload demands. Consistently challenging work environments leads to employee fatigue, strain, depression, and adverse health outcomes2,3,4,5 Research about different forms of support resources within an organization that could potentially act as a buffer is relatively neglected. To address this limitation, the current study investigated the moderating role of emotional supervisor support between time management and work-life conflict association. Conservation of Resources (COR)7,8,9 theory posits that employees who are experiencing high work or home-related stressors preserves, acquires and maintain resources to manage these stressors. And self-regulation8,9,10theory argues that receiving resources and effective allocation of these resources reduces adverse work-life conflict outcomes and in turn produces positive results. Emotional support is expected to alleviate the strain by providing psychological resources (e.g., empathetic listening on reporting challenging clients, or supervisor providing a day off for an employee’s sick child)11,12. Researchers claim that emotional support from supervisors could produce a buffering effect against work and life stressors4,10. Therefore, we hypothesized the following: 1) There will be a significant effect of time management on work-life conflict, 2) There will be a significant effect of emotional supervisory support on work-life conflict, 3) There will be a significant negative two-way interaction on work-life conflict.
Methods:The study surveyed 260 frontline employees working at an emergency department of a non-profit hospital located in New York City (55% response rate) during Spring 201916. Cronbach’s alphas for the study measures were above the expected cut-off, and one measure was below at (α =.70)13,14,15. Discriminant and construct validity was established using maximum likelihood estimation and varimax rotation. Aiken and West procedures were followed to test the hypotheses using the hierarchal moderated multiple regression analysis in SPSS 2517,18,19. No items cross-loaded on another factor above. Finally, except for one outlier, no violations of OLR regression were noted.
Results:Two out of three hypotheses were significant. Significant main effect was found for emotional supervisory support (β = -.178, p < .05), and time management (β = .084, n.s.). The interaction effect of time management and emotional supervisory support (β = -.224, p < .05) on the outcome variable was significant. Further, this two-way interaction reported variance of 9.2% in the outcome variable, which is larger than a regular interaction.
Conclusion and Implications: Findings contribute to the non-profit hospital literature by being the first known empirical study showing emotional supervisory supports’ buffering effect on the relationship between time management and work-life conflict. Emotional supervisory support includes providing non-tangible resources like time off to an employee or an empathetic listening, which mitigates the harmful effects of work-life conflict. To reduce work-life conflict within hospitals, human services organizations must institute time management and emotional supervisory support training. Employees who receive higher emotional support from supervisors along with time management training would experience lowered levels of work-life conflict.