how well do spouses rate their partners' work-family conflict? perception discrepancies and marital quality

Open Access
Reinhard, Taylor Nancy
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kelly D'anne Davis, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Bancroft Hynes, Honors Advisor
  • David Manuel Almeida, Faculty Reader
  • work-family conflict
  • marital quality
  • spousal support
  • spousal strain
  • perceptions
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between how accurately spouses perceive their employed wives’ or husbands’ work-family conflict (i.e. work-family conflict discrepancy) and couples’ reports of marital quality (i.e. marital support and strain). Data came from a sample of 425 couples who participated in the Work- Family Health Network Study. Employees in an IT telecommunications company were recruited to participate as well as their spouses. The findings indicate that spouses are more likely to under or overestimate employees’ work-family conflict than accurately estimate it. ANCOVA results showed that work-family conflict discrepancy (over, under, or accurate) reports were only significantly associated with spouses’ reports of marital quality. Work-family conflict discrepancy was not associated with employees’ reports of marital quality. There were no gender differences in work-family conflict discrepancy. However, there was a significant work-family conflict discrepancy by spouse gender interaction predicting employee report of marital strain. When husbands accurately reported on employed wives’ work-family conflict, their employed wives reported significantly less strain than when wives were accurate or over-report employed husbands’ work-family conflict. We consider the implications of our findings for research and practitioners’ roles in couples’ experiences of work-family conflict and marital quality.