Those trends are turning many couples’ after-work hours into a minefield.
People who put in long days on stressful jobs tend to carry the strain over into their lives at home. They start arguments or withdraw emotionally and neglect their partners after work—a pattern researchers call the spillover effect.
“You’re quicker to raise your voice at a child or spouse. You’re more easily antagonized,” says Dawn Carlson, a management professor at Baylor University.
This can trigger a downward cycle of stress if spouses carry the effects back to work the next day, hurting their ability to concentrate and be productive, according to a 2018 study of 389 couples led by Dr. Carlson.
Spillover is especially hazardous to relationships if the employee is both passionate about a job and obsessed with succeeding at it, another recent study shows.”
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