Acta Psychologica Sinica (心理学报) 2017/49:3 PP.359-369
Marital satisfaction has become an increasingly important research topic due to the increasing divorce rates in mainland China in the past decade. To understand potential causes of decreased marital satisfaction, previous studies have mainly focused on the negative effects of employees' work demands. However, this approach has limited implications for practice for several reasons. First, emphasizing the negative influence of work demands on marital satisfaction may negatively impact employees' work attitude, because to maintain a successful marriage is a central task of adult development. Second, even when organizations realize that work demands are harmful to employees' marital satisfaction, they still may not be able to reduce the work demands due to intense market competition. Given these reasons, identifying poten tial factors to improve martial satisfaction may have more achievable practical implications, and researchers have begun to investigate the positive effect of work resources on employees' family roles. In line with this trend, the primary goal of this study was to examine the relationship between family supportive supervisor behavior (FSSB) and dual-earner couples' marital satisfaction.
Drawing upon prior research on social support and the resource-gain-development perspective, the present study tested a positive spillover-crossover model in which FSSB is predicted to promote work-to-family enrichment that increases the reciprocal effect of social support between husbands and wives, and the reciprocal effect will further positively predict the couple's marital satisfaction. We surveyed 370 Chinese dual-earner couples to measure their FSSB, work-to-family enrichment, spousal support and marital satisfaction. Structural equation modeling (SEM) and dyadic data analysis method were used to test the hypotheses. Additionally, whether having children under the age of 18 and whether having elderly domestic helpers were statistically controlled in all hypothesis testing.
Analysis results largely provided support for the proposed positive spillover-crossover model. First, FSSB was positively related to the couple's marital satisfaction, and FSSB positively predicted spousal support through increased work-to-family enrichment. Second, work-to-family enrichment positively predicted marital satisfaction through increased spousal support. Third, wives' and husbands' spousal support had a reciprocal positive impact on each other. Fourth, husbands' marital satisfaction positively predicted wives' marital satisfaction, but not the other way around. Lastly, husbands' marital satisfaction mediated the positive effect of both husbands' and wives' FSSB on wives' marital satisfaction.
The present study examined the effect of FSSB on employee's family life outcomes based on a system approach, and demonstrated the important effect of FSSB on dual-earner couples' marital satisfaction. Our findings suggests that FSSB can be an important resources to promote dual-earner couples' marital satisfaction. Since previous research have shown that supervisors' FSSB could be improved by supervisor training and self-monitoring intervention, organizations can potentially promote dual-earner couples' marital satisfaction by implementing these programs designed to increase supervisors' FSSB.
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