Leaning in and out: Work–life tradeoffs, self-conscious emotions, and life role satisfaction

Patricia C. Dahm, Yeonka Sophia Kim, Theresa M. Glomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Drawing on self-discrepancy theory, which posits discomfort when actual selves deviate from ideal or ought selves (Higgins, 1987), we examine the complementary and compounding effects of work–life tradeoffs on self-conscious emotions, life role satisfaction, and spouse/partner work satisfaction. Across multiple samples, we augment and refine extant tradeoff measures to include minor tradeoffs (e.g., limiting networking, missing a family event) in addition to the more frequently researched major tradeoffs (e.g., quitting a job, choosing not to have children) and test their effects. Work compromising tradeoffs (i.e., sacrificing work for family/personal activities) were associated with negative selfconscious emotions and lower levels of job, career, and life satisfaction indirectly through professional self-discrepancy, suggesting that making work compromises for family affects how individuals see themselves as professionals. Family/personal compromising tradeoffs (i.e., sacrificing family/personal activities for work) were associated with negative self-conscious emotions and lower levels of job, career, family, and life satisfaction indirectly through family and professional self-discrepancy, suggesting individuals view their family and professional selves less favorably when they make family/ personal compromises for work. Despite negative effects for the employees, our results suggest work tradeoffs are beneficial for spouse/partner work hours and satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)478-506
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Quality of life
  • Self-concept
  • Work–life balance


Dive into the research topics of 'Leaning in and out: Work–life tradeoffs, self-conscious emotions, and life role satisfaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this