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Description: Research on commuting to and from work and its potential consequences for employee strain and wellbeing has accumulated across various disciplines. However, this has led to a narrow research scope with wide methodological variability. An integration of this literature is needed to understand the breadth of the commuting experience and interpret heterogeneous findings. Drawing upon and extending the transactional stress model, we propose that commuting is a demand that can have both negative and positive effects on outcomes through commuting appraisals. We present a systematic review (i.e., based on k = 109 studies) and meta-analysis (i.e., based on k = 39 studies) of these relationships. Our systematic review finds partial support for our hypotheses. Supplementing this, our meta-analysis suggests that objective commuting demands (i.e., time spent commuting to work) are positively associated with strain outcomes (rxy = .089; especially perceived stress, rxy = .153), but unrelated to wellbeing outcomes. Subjective commuting appraisals are unrelated to strain or wellbeing outcomes. We conclude with recommendations for methodological improvements and implications for research and practice.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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