You are not currently logged in.
Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:
The Contagion of Stress across Multiple Roles
Niall Bolger, Anita DeLongis, Ronald C. Kessler and Elaine Wethington
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 51, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 175-183
Published by: National Council on Family Relations
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/352378
Page Count: 9
Preview not available
Previous research on multiple role stress has hypothesized the existence of two types of stress contagion: spillover, in which the stresses experienced in either the work or home domain lead to stresses in the other domain; and crossover, in which the stresses experienced by one's spouse at work lead to stresses for oneself at home. However, empirical evidence of these processes has been largely indirect and qualitative. This study provides the first direct quantitative evidence on the causal dynamics of stress contagion across work and home domains in married couples. Contrary to previous thinking, results indicate that husbands are more likely than their wives to bring their home stresses into the workplace. Also, stress contagion from work to home was evident for both husbands and wives. Furthermore, the contagion of work stress into the home sets in motion a process of dyadic adjustment, whereby individuals, particularly wives, appear to modify their housework efforts to compensate for the work stresses of their spouses. Such findings provide important insights into the dynamics of gender differences in role stress and confirm the value of studying chronic stress processes at the level of analysis where such stresses are inevitably manifest—in day-to-day events and activities.
Journal of Marriage and Family © 1989 National Council on Family Relations