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Psychosom Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;68(5):742-6. Epub 2006 Sep 20.

Work hours affect spouse's cortisol secretion--for better and for worse.

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  • 1Department of Psychologie, University of Fribourg, Rue de Faucigny 2, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland. petra.klumb@unifr.ch

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

In a sample of 52 German dual-earner couples with at least one child under age 5, we examined the bodily costs and benefits of the amount of time each spouse spent on productive activities.

METHODS:

Diary reports of time allocated to formal and informal work activities were analyzed according to the Actor-Partner Interdependence model.

RESULTS:

Hierarchical linear models showed that each hour an individual allocated to market, as well as household work, increased his or her total cortisol concentration (by 192 and 134 nmol/l, respectively). Unexpectedly, the time the spouse allocated to paid work also raised an individual's total cortisol concentration (by 64 nmol/l). In line with our expectations, there was a tendency for the time the spouse allocated to household work to decrease the individual's cortisol concentration (by 81 nmol/l).

CONCLUSIONS:

This study contributes to the body of evidence on the complex nature of social relationships and complements the literature on specific working conditions and couples' well-being.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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