Deleterious Effects of Stress on Time Spent Together and Parents' Relationship Satisfaction

Anne Milek, Ashley Randall, Fridtjof W. Nussbeck, Christina J. Breitenstein, Guy Bodenmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Data from 90 German committed heterosexual couples who had a least one child were used to examine the associations between chronic minor external stress, quantity and quality of time spent together as a couple, and partners' relationship satisfaction. Using an extended version of the Actor Partner Interdependence Model, the authors found significant negative indirect effects from mothers' chronic minor external stress via quality, but not quantity, of shared time to both parents' reported relationship satisfaction. Mothers' chronic minor external stress was associated with fewer reported quality time activities, which were also associated with lower reports of relationship satisfaction for both mothers and fathers. The authors did not find indirect effects for fathers' chronic minor external stress. Overall, the frequency of quality time activities may be more important for mothers, as it explained 25% of variance in their relationship satisfaction, compared with 15% in fathers' relationship satisfaction. Implications for relationship researchers and clinicians are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-231
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017


  • Dyadic data analysis
  • marital satisfaction
  • parenthood
  • relationship maintenance
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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