ity of unfulfilled expectation may also
be high, negatively influencing JS. In
comparison, the expectation is lower
on weekend days, indirectly contributing to a higher level of JS.
JS reaches its highest level on Fridays, as in Figure 2a, a finding that
could be attributed to actual fulfillment of weekly work expectations.
At the other end, JS is at its lowest on
Tuesdays, followed by an increasing
trend the rest of the week. One possible explanation is work stress peaks on
Tuesdays when the weekend-to-week-day transition is over and work expectations begin to mount.
FS peaks on Wednesdays, as in Figure 2b, a finding that could be attributed to people’s state of work-family
balance, as manifested in both low
SC and relatively low TC, as in Figure
1. There is a sharp drop in FS from
Sundays through Tuesdays, as expected. Surprisingly, FS barely makes it
into the positive range on Saturdays.
One possible explanation is that employed women shift child care and
housework to weekend days.
individuals’ high expectation of family commitments on weekends, it is
difficult for them to feel highly satisfied, particularly as weekends begin
to unfold. In comparison, FS is relatively more stable than JS, as reflected
in a smaller variance across different
days, as in Figure 2a and Figure 2b.
To understand the association
between WFC (TC and SC) and satisfaction (JS and FS) we performed pair-wise correlation analyses between
the two sets of variables. The results
reported in the accompanying table
reflect that all correlation coefficients
are negative. In addition, the correlations between SC and JS/FS, but not
between TC and JS/FS, are significant
The findings on the relationship
between TC and satisfaction challenge current mainstream thinking
that WFC has a negative influence on
spending in the respective domain.
TC arose when an individual allocated
above-average time for work and simultaneously below-average time for
family and vice versa. Accordingly, we
defined TC as the average difference
between the time allocation for work
and for family.
SC. Strain can be deduced from
psychological and physical dimensions,
12 though it is difficult, if not impossible, to measure physical strain
directly from social-media data. We
thus measured SC from the psychological aspect of participant data, specifically through negative mood (such as
anxiety, anger, and sadness). Negative
mood in one domain is associated with
pessimism and rumination, causing
individuals to neglect requirements in
the other domain.
18 SC arose when an
individual simultaneously experienced
above-average negative mood in both
work and family. Accordingly, we defined SC as the average negative mood
across work and family.
We measured satisfaction in two domains—work and family—we labeled
as job satisfaction (JS) and family satisfaction (FS), respectively. Satisfaction
can be explained as a causal sequence
linking mood to performance and reward in a domain.
18 Positive mood can
facilitate role performance by enhancing cognitive functioning, increasing task activity and persistence, and
promoting positive interactions with
others. Meanwhile, intrinsic and extrinsic rewards earned through role
performance can thus enhance positive mood.
18 We viewed positive mood
as a proxy measure of satisfaction.
JS (or FS). We defined satisfaction
with work (or family) as the proportion
of work- or family-related tweets expressed in positive moods.
Results and Discussion
To understand the dynamics of WFC,
we first analyzed the trends of time-based WFC (TC) and strain-based WFC
(SC) at different levels of time granularity after removing the data associated
with American national holidays (such
as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New
Year’s). The results show the trends of
WFC at levels of month and week are
both relatively stable. Nevertheless,
WFC fluctuates by day of the week (see
Figure 1a shows TC is heightened
during weekdays relative to weekends.
This observation confirms previous
findings on work-family time allocation that both men and women in the
U. S. spend more time in domestic work
and caring for children on a weekend
day than on a weekday.
10 In addition,
TC shows an increasing trend from
Sundays to Tuesdays and the opposite
trend from Thursdays to Saturdays,
peaking on Tuesdays and dipping on
Saturdays. There is thus a sharp increase in TC when transitioning from
weekends to weekdays and a sudden
drop during the opposite transition.
Note TC stays in the negative range,
indicating family-to-work spillover
events are more prevalent than work-to-family spillover.
Figure 1b shows SC is much greater
on weekdays than weekends, except
for Wednesdays. If the trend profile of
TC resembles a normal distribution,
then the trend profile of SC simulates
a bimodal distribution, with Mondays
and Thursdays being two peaks. Unlike TC, which peaks on Tuesdays,
SC reaches a peak immediately after
weekdays begin. The abrupt drop in
SC on Wednesdays could be explained
by people reaching a state of work-family balance by the middle of the
week. A sharply elevated SC on Thursdays may be attributed to the pressure
of trying to complete scheduled weekly tasks, onset of work exhaustion, or
preparation for upcoming family commitments.
Overall, the results show both TC
and SC vary markedly with the day of
the week, an observation that helps explain the inconsistent findings about
the form and intensity of WFC in the
literature. They also imply a major limitation of survey-based methods that
have dominated traditional WFC research. Depending on the day a survey
is administered, participants’ responses can vary greatly.
Figure 2 shows the trends for job
satisfaction (JS) and family satisfaction (FS), including that individuals’
JS and FS are both higher on weekends
than on weekdays. People feel satisfied when their criteria are met, and
satisfaction can be viewed as a degree
of realized expectation. On weekdays,
the expectation of work performance is
high, and, consequently, the possibil-
Results of correlation analysis.
TC –0.056 –0.108
SC –0.430*** –0.316***
*** p< 0.001