The Remains of the Workday: Impact of Job Stress and Exhaustion on Marital Interaction in Police Couples

Article excerpt

We examined the impact of job stress and physical exhaustion on the physiological and subjective components of emotional responding during marital interactions between 19 male police officers and their spouses. Couples completed 30-day stress diaries and participated in 4 weekly laboratory interaction sessions. During interactions on days of greater stress, both spouses were more physiologically aroused, husbands reported less positive and more negative emotion, and wives reported less emotion (both positive and negative). On days of greater exhaustion, husbands were more physiologically aroused. All of these findings are indicators of heightened risk for poor marital outcomes and thus document an emotional mechanism by which job stress and exhaustion can negatively impact marriage.

Key Words: emotion, exhaustion, job stress, marriage, physiology, police work.

NOTE

This research was supported by National Institute of Justice Grant 95-IJ-CX-0046. The authors acknowledge the helpful comments provided by Sheldon Zedeck and Philip Cowan. We are grateful for the assistance and participation of officers from the Oakland, Berkeley, and Alameda Police Departments.

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