|Title||Work Hour Trajectories, Marital Quality, and Health of Couples Across the Life Course|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|University||University of Michigan|
|City||Ann Arbor, MI|
|Keywords||Adult children, Demographics, Employment and Labor Force, Event History/Life Cycle|
There has been a growing interest in understanding work and family roles over the last several decades. Much of the literature has examined the work-family context as static and homogenous, but work and family lives change and develop over a lifetime. This dissertation conceptualizes work-family context as complex, dynamic, and heterogeneous for individuals and couples. Adopting a lifespan/life course framework, I use longitudinal data to examine work hour trajectories of both husband and wife among a sample of young newlyweds and a sample of older couples. I further investigate the associations among couples' work hour trajectories, marital quality, and health over time. The first study examined work hour trajectories among newlywed couples over the first 16 years of marriage. Data were from the Early Years of Marriage Project, which included 352 Black and White American newlyweds in their first year of marriage in 1986 (Year 1), and in Years 3, 7, and 16 of their marriage. Four qualitatively distinct trajectories of work hours were identified. Notably, husbands worked full time in Year 1 of marriage with no change over 16 years across all four trajectories, whereas wives varied in the number of work hours in Year 1 and in how they changed over time. Results showed that these trajectories were associated with changes in marital happiness and depression predominantly among husbands even though it was the wives' work hours that varied. The second study examined work hour trajectories among midlife and older couples over 14 years of marriage. Analyzing a nationally representative sample of 1641 midlife and older couples from the Health and Retirement Study, six distinct work hour trajectories were identified. Work hours significantly decreased for all trajectories and the slopes of decline varied. Results showed that work hour trajectories were associated with changes in self-rated health and depression among husbands and wives. Taken together, these studies illustrate the heterogeneity of couples' work trajectories over the life course and the importance of studying linked lives over time. The findings also suggest that family roles and other work-related factors may moderate the effects of work on marital and health outcomes.
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|Short Title||Work Hour Trajectories, Marital Quality, and Health of Couples Across the Life Course|