An integrative, multilevel, and transdisciplinary research approach to challenges of work, family, and health

By Jeremy Bray, Erin L Kelly, Leslie B Hammer, David M Almeida, James W Dearing, Rosalind B King, Orfeu M Buxton

To support the efforts of workplaces and policymakers to improve the health of employees and their families, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention formed the Work, Family & Health Network (WFHN). WFHN is conducting an innovative, multisite study that includes an effectiveness study to assess intervention effects on employees, families and managers; a daily diary study to examine effects on family functioning and daily stress; a process study to understand how the intervention is implemented; and translational research to understand how best to share the study results. This paper presents a high-level description of the study’s design and methods. It also explains changes made during the course of the field study, and the research team’s approach to adhere to design principles rather than to specific design elements and methods. The WFHN study will provide information about how interventions affect productivity, turnover, and workplace costs. The findings will also inform effective work-family policies and interventions, thereby improving the lives of millions of American workers and their families.


Bray, J., Kelly, E. L., Hammer, L. B., Almeida, D. M., Dearing, J. W., King, R. B., & Buxton, O. M. (2013). An integrative, multilevel, and transdisciplinary research approach to challenges of work, family, and health. (RTI Press Publication No. MR-0024-1303). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Jeremy BrayJeremy W. Bray, PhD, is an RTI International Senior Fellow in health economics and the principal investigator of the Data and Methodological Coordinating Center for the NIH/CDC Work, Family & Health Network (WFHN).

Erin L KellyErin L. Kelly, PhD, is associate professor of sociology and director of the Life Course Center at the University of Minnesota. She is co-PI, with Phyllis Moen, of the Minnesota center of the WFHN.

Leslie B HammerLeslie B. Hammer, PhD, is professor of psychology and director of the Portland State University Occupational Health Psychology Program, associate director of the Oregon Healthy Workforce Center, and co-director of the Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety, and Health. She is co-PI, with Ellen Ernst Kossek, of the Portland State University center of the WFHN.

David M AlmeidaDavid M. Almeida, PhD, is professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University. He is co-PI, with Susan McHale, of the Penn State center of the WFHN.

James W DearingJames W. Dearing, PhD, is a senior scientist at Kaiser Permanente where he co-directs the Center for Health Education Dissemination and Implementation Research and the Cancer Communication Research Center. He chairs the WFHN Translational Research Committee.

Rosalind B KingRosalind B. King, PhD, is a health scientist administrator at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and an extramural staff scientist for the WFHN.

Orfeu M BuxtonOrfeu M. Buxton, PhD, is assistant professor in the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine, an associate neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and director of the WFHN biomarker and actigraphy data coordinating center at BWH.

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