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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Combining work and family is an ongoing challenge for many adults. Research attention on the health-related implications of this challenge has increased substantially over the past 20 years. Inquiries fueled by the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study contributed to this growth, but explanations for “why” meeting the everyday responsibilities of work and family could influence health remain underdeveloped. This chapter elucidates the dominant “pathways” by which day-to-day responsibilities in the worlds of work and family may affect adult health. After defining key concepts and establishing a brief sociohistorical context for work, family, and health research, four pathways and associated metaphors are described for linking everyday work and family life with human health. These pathways are illustrated using the corpus of MIDUS-related research; the chapter concludes with suggestions for studies that could further expand and positively impact the existing work, family, and health literature.

Keywords: work and family, MIDUS study, adult health, work, family life, human health

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