Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 277–296 | Cite as

Spousal Problems and Family-to-Work Conflict Among Employed US Adults

  • Marshal Neal FettroEmail author
  • Kei Nomaguchi
Original Paper


Using data from the 2011 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States Refreshed Sample (N = 980), this paper examines how three types of spousal problems—poor physical health, poor mental health, and behavioral disorders—are related to respondents’ family-to-work conflict (FWC) among employed adults aged 25–61. Results suggest that all three types of their spouses’ problems were related to respondents’ higher FWC, with their spouses’ poor mental health having the strongest association. These associations were not significant after controlling for respondents’ role overload, financial strain, and relationship strain. There were few variations by respondents’ gender and parental status in these associations. Relationship strain played the primary role as a mediator, which was stronger for men than women. These findings support the idea of stress proliferation, suggesting that one’s problems can be linked to a series of other stressors including one’s spouse’s FWC.


Family-to-work conflict Relationship strain Spouse demands Stress process model 



This research is supported by the Center for Family and Demographic Research, Bowling Green State University, which has core funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (P2CHD050959). We thank Wendy Manning, I-Fen Lin, and Al DeMaris for their helpful comments. An earlier version of this study was presented at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology & Center for Family and Demographic ResearchBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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