Dual-Earner Couples: The Impact of Work-Family Spillover on Marital Satisfaction

Sarah A. Cherry, Samantha J. Sutorius,Emily L. Zimmerman
Huntington University

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v8/cherry.html 

Abstract The present study examined the relationship between couples’ combined hours in gainful employment and volunteer activities and marital satisfaction. It was hypothesized that dual-earner heterosexual married couples who report a greater number of hours spent in gainful employment and volunteer activities would report lower levels of marital satisfaction. The Comprehensive Marital Satisfaction Scale (Mehrabian, 2005) was administered by convenience sampling to 30 couples in the researchers’ home churches and workplaces in Indiana. The data were analyzed using a Pearson r statistic and found that r equaled .01. No statistical significance was found; therefore the null hypothesis was retained. Future studies should consider a multi-variate approach to control for unemployment, children, and remarriage, among other confounding variables.

Introduction Due to the influx of women into the paid workforce in the last half-century, the balance of family dynamics has shifted significantly. For the couple particularly, the impact of both spouses working increases the number of stressors in their marital relationship. The attempt to balance “working outside the home, taking care of children, and completing household chores and errands . . .” is “. . . likely to set in motion a pattern of demands, stresses, and frustrations that shape men’s and women’s emotional lives and the nature of the family relationships” (Schulz, Cowan, Cowan, & Brennan, 2004). This can result in marital conflict.

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v8/cherry.html