Spillover Patterns in Single-Earner Couples: Work, Self-Care, and the Marital Relationship

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The relationship between work and marriage is well documented in dual-earner couples. Work-marital spillover patterns, however, have been understudied in single-earner couples. The current study extends the work-marital spillover literature by examining spillover patterns from individual experiences and self-care behaviors to the marital relationship over a period of 42 days in husband-earner and wife-earner couples. Results of pooled time-series regression analyses indicated individual experiences and self-care behaviors predicted marital processes for both employment groups. For self-care behaviors, however, different patterns emerged for employed and unemployed spouses. Results identify an important connection between energy depletion and marital processes, and highlight the role of a spouse’s own and the partner’s self-care behaviors, particularly for the employed spouse in single-earner couples.