Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine whether work-to-family conflict (WFC) and
work-to-family enrichment (WFE) predicted burnout in working mothers using conservation of
resources theory. The authors also examined whether these relationships varied between sole and
partnered working mothers.
Design/methodology/approach – In total, 516 partnered and 107 sole mothers in paid employment
completed an online survey twice, six months apart.
Findings – WFC was significantly positively related to burnout, and WFE significantly negatively
related to burnout. Marital status moderated the inverse relationship between WFE and personal
burnout, and this relationship was significant for partnered mothers only.
Research limitations/implications – Limitations include self-report data, and the sample being
highly educated thereby limiting generalizability.
Practical implications – Providing an enriching and supportive work environment may be an
important strategy for minimizing burnout in mothers, particularly for sole mothers.
Social implications – Employed sole mother’s risks of burnout may be higher than for other mothers
even when experiencing WFE, which can have implications for their functioning and for family well-being.
Originality/value – This two-wave study is the first to highlight that sole mothers, who are at risk of
greater socio-economic disadvantages, do not benefit from WFE to the same degree as partnered mothers.
Future work-family and burnout research should further examine differences based family structure.