The Relationship Between Daily Marital Interaction, Work, and Health-promoting Behaviors in Dual-earner Couples: An Extension of the Work-family Spillover Model

Diana M. Doumas, Boise State University
Gayla Margolin
Richard S. John


This article examines the spillover and crossover patterns between an individual’s daily work experiences and health-promoting behaviors and daily marital interaction in 49 dual-earner couples. Husbands and wives separately completed daily diaries that included questions about work experiences, health-promoting behaviors, and marital interactions over 42 consecutive days. Pooled time series regression analyses were performed to examine transmission patterns between daily individual experiences and marital interaction. Spillover patterns were demonstrated from both individual experiences to marital interaction the same day and from marital interaction to individual experiences the next day. In general, spouses reported more positive marital interaction on days when they worked less, felt more energetic, ate more, and relaxed more. Spouses also reported working, eating, and relaxing more on days after husbands’ negative marital interaction was reported. Patterns of spillover also differed for husbands and wives, suggesting that wives may be more reactive to their husbands’ experiences and behaviors than vice versa.