What is it about?

Social support helps reduce the burden of work stress, and social support received from one’s partner facilitates individual well-being and intimate relationships. Yet providing support to one’s partner can be challenging, especially for those who work in a stressful job. As many employees in today’s world are members of dual-earner couples, they may face the challenge of dealing with their own work stress while supporting their partner. Previous research has found personal resources (e.g., attention, energy, time) to be essential for providing social support, and work stressors to be a common resource-draining experience. In line with this, we found that employees facing higher work stressors provide more dysfunctional support (providing ambivalent and unmotivated support) while receiving more emotional (active listening and empathic understanding) and instrumental (problem-focused actions such as taking over household) social support from their partner. This pattern was consistent across types of work stressors and genders.

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Why is it important?

Dual-earner couples are a hallmark of today’s world. Although the benefits of receiving social support are well established, less is known about the antecedents of providing support, particularly to one’s partner. Our study offers new insights into the extent to which work stressors affect social support provision among intimate partners in a dual-earner couple.

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This page is a summary of: Do work stressors relate to social support provision? An actor–partner interdependence model among dual-earner couples., International Journal of Stress Management, January 2023, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/str0000288.
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