Date of Award

2006

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

School

School of Psychology

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Lynne Cohen

Abstract

This review outlines literature on the influence of daytime experiences on nighttime marital behaviour. Researchers propose that experiences at work and home spillover into and influence the other domain. Factors affecting spillover included gender, job characteristics, role satisfaction, negative affect and marital satisfaction. Outcomes of spillover included withdrawn and angry marital behaviour. Results of the current research suggest that husbands tend to withdraw, whilst wives tend to display anger during marital interactions following a negatively arousing day. Individual differences and situational theories have been proposed to explain this gender difference. Limitations ofthe studies include the focus on married individuals living in the United States and Canada. Research has also focused on the spillover of husbands' workday experiences. Future research needs to be conducted on couples in other countries and to explore other influences that may impact on spillover. Future research should aim to develop a clear empirical model for understanding the processes by which daytime experiences influence nighttime marital behaviour.This study examines the relationship between negative affect at the end of the day and nighttime marital behaviour (angry and withdrawn). The study explores the influence of gender and marital satisfaction of this relationship. Fifty couples completed Negative Affectivity Scale (NAS; Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) at the end of their day and Angry and Withdrawn Marital Behaviour Scales (AMBS and WMBS; Schulz, Cowan, Cowan, & Brennan, 2004) before going to bed. Couples provided information on their marital satisfaction through completion ofthe Marital Adjustment Test (MAT; Locke & Wallace, 1959). Independent T tests found a significant difference between husbands' and wives' average nighttime levels of angry and withdrawn marital behaviour. Multiple regression analyses found a relationship between negative affect at the end of the day and nightly marital behaviour. Marital satisfaction was found to influence the relationship between negative affect at the end of the day and nighttime withdrawn behaviour, but not the relationship between negative affect at the end of the day and angry marital behaviour. The study adds important knowledge on gender differences in marital behaviour and spillover processes.

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