Who's Remembering to Buy the Eggs? The Meaning, Measurement, and Implications of Invisible Family Load


Although much is known of the observable physical tasks associated with household management and child rearing, there is scant understanding of the less visible tasks that are just as critical. Grounding our research in the extant literature, the broader lay discussion, as well as our own qualitative research, we define, conceptualize, and operationalize this construct, which we label as "invisible family load." Using a mixed method, five-study approach, we offer a comprehensive, multidimensional definition and provide a nine-item, empirically validated scale to measure its component parts-managerial, cognitive, and emotional family load. In addition, we investigate gender differences and find, as expected, that women report higher levels of each dimension. We also examine the implications of invisible family load for employee health, well-being, and job attitudes, as well as family-to-work spillover. Although we substantiated some significant negative consequences, contrary to the popular view that consequences of invisible family load are uniformly negative, our results show some potential benefits. Even after accounting for conscientiousness and neuroticism, managerial family load related to greater family-work enrichment, and cognitive family load related to greater family satisfaction and job performance. Yet, emotional family load had uniformly negative potential consequences including greater family-to-work conflict, sleep problems, family and job exhaustion, and lower life and family satisfaction. Our research sets the stage for scholars to forge a path forward to enhance understanding of this phenomenon and its implications for individuals, their families, and the organizations for which they work.

Invisible family load, Managerial family load, Cognitive family load, Emotional load, Mental load, Invisible labor, Household labor, Scale development, EMPIRICAL-EXAMINATION, HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT, JOB-SATISFACTION, MENTAL LABOR, TIME SPENT, WORK, GENDER, CONFLICT, THINKING, STRESS, Business, Psychology, Applied
Wayne, J. H., Mills, M. J., Wang, Y.-R., Matthews, R. A., & Whitman, M. V. (2023). Who’s Remembering to Buy the Eggs? The Meaning, Measurement, and Implications of Invisible Family Load. In Journal of Business and Psychology. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-023-09887-7