Work-family enrichment, work-family conflict, and marital satisfaction: a dyadic analysis

J Occup Health Psychol. 2014 Apr;19(2):182-94. doi: 10.1037/a0036011.


This study was designed to examine whether spouses' work-to-family (WF) enrichment experiences account for their own and their partner's marital satisfaction, beyond the effects of WF conflict. Data were collected from both partners of 215 dual-earner couples with children. As hypothesized, structural equation modeling revealed that WF enrichment experiences accounted for variance in individuals' marital satisfaction, over and above WF conflict. In line with our predictions, this positive link between individuals' WF enrichment and their marital satisfaction was mediated by more positive marital behavior, and more positive perceptions of the partner's behavior. Furthermore, evidence for crossover was found. Husbands who experienced more WF enrichment were found to show more marital positivity (according to their wives), which related to increased marital satisfaction in their wives. No evidence of such a crossover effect from wives to husbands was found. The current findings not only highlight the added value of studying positive spillover and crossover effects of work into the marriage, but also suggest that positive spillover and crossover effects on marital satisfaction might be stronger than negative spillover and crossover are. These results imply that organizational initiatives of increasing job enrichment may make employees' marital life happier and can contribute to a happy, healthy, and high-performing workforce.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Relations*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Netherlands
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Work / psychology*