Life Spillovers: The Spillover of Fear of Home Foreclosure to the Workplace

Belle Rose Ragins, Karen S. Lyness, Larry J. Williams, Doan Winkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Work-life research has focused on the spillover of family experiences to the workplace but has neglected other life experiences that may also be brought to work. Addressing this shortcoming, we present a conceptual framework for the study of life spillovers. We offer the idea that life experiences can include shocks and that the fear associated with nonwork shocks can spill over to the workplace. The national shock of the collapse of the U.S. financial and housing markets in 2008 offered an opportunity to test these ideas and build an empirical foundation for the study of life spillovers. Using a sample of 2,135 organizationally employed homeowners, we examined the spillover of fear of home foreclosure to the workplace. In support of our moderated mediation model, employees with greater fear of losing their homes to foreclosure reported more physical stress-related symptoms at work, and their acknowledgment of home-to-work spillover fully mediated this relationship. Fear of foreclosure also directly predicted job search behaviors and negatively affected employees' organizational commitment and turnover intentions through multiple mediators involving home-to-work spillover and stress. Resources and demands from the home and, to a lesser extent, work domains amplified the spillover of fear of foreclosure to the workplace. Taken together, these findings support widening the work-life lens to include a broader array of nonwork experiences. Practical implications are presented as well as new directions for future research using the life spillover framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-800
Number of pages38
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


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