Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Robert R. Sinclair, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Fred Switzer

Committee Member

Dr. Thomas Britt

Committee Member

Dr. Mary Anne Taylor


The demographic make-up of the American workforce has changed drastically over the past few decades. This change has brought forth increased women workers and dual earner couples, more demanding childcare responsibilities for working parents, and older workers. As the stress from these changes heighten, it is pertinent that employees are managing their work and family lives to achieve their most desirable level of interaction between the two life domains (American Psychological Association, 2015). Thus, work-family conflict has become a common topic of interest in Occupation Health Psychology. As the development and use of work-family conflict scales increase, it is important that researchers attend to the psychometric properties of these scales. Researchers have not yet examined demographic differences in employees’ responses to work-family conflict at the item level. In order to understand if the interpretation of items is consistent by subgroup, I use Item Response Theory and qualitative data to test the research questions posed. Through the use of a semi-inductive approach, the current study sought to examine differences in the way various demographic groups – gender, age, marital status, parental status – interpret and respond to work-family conflict items. Findings indicate that the Carlson et al. (2000) scale produced DIF for a subset of the items, particularly strain- and behavior-based items are of most concern. Qualitative analyses revealed inconsistent frequencies for at least one item in each of the demographic groups. The quantitative and qualitative findings were inconsistent to some regard, and depended on the demographic in question. Implications, strengths, and limitations are discussed.



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