Distress resulting from work and family overload is likely to be interdependent between partners, as both men and women increasingly participate in work and family tasks. We attempted to explain distress of both partners by looking at their work and family demands and the resulting time and energy deficits experienced by each partner. Furthermore, we investigated how time deficit, energy deficit and distress due to such demands crossover between partners. The study, which used a precise measurement of family demands, was based on a sample of both partners from 828 dual-earner couples in The Netherlands. The results showed that for both partners work and family demands increase time deficit and energy deficit. Energy deficit due to heavy demands resulted in more feelings of distress, whereas time deficit did not contribute significantly to distress. We found different patterns of crossover between male and female partners. Feelings of time deficit and energy deficit crossed over from the man to the woman, whereas feelings of distress crossed over from the woman to the man. These results indicate that the demands on each partner contribute to their own distress, as well as to their partner's distress, either through the crossover of energy deficit or through the crossover of distress.

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doi.org/10.1080/02678373.2010.533553, hdl.handle.net/1765/66267
Work and Stress
Department of Psychology

ten Brummelhuis, L., Haar, J., & van der Lippe, T. (2010). Crossover of distress due to work and family demands in dual-earner couples: A dyadic analysis. Work and Stress, 24(4), 324–341. doi:10.1080/02678373.2010.533553