An analysis of marital support and coping with work-related stress

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Ruth Wynn


Families & family life, Personal relationships, Sociology, Cellular biology

Subject Categories

Family, Life Course, and Society


The relationship between the family life and the work life of people was examined within the theoretical framework of work stress and social support. The cognitive-phenomenological model of stress (Lazarus and Folkman, 1984) with its sub-processes of appraisal and coping served as the basis for testing several hypotheses about the main and buffering effects of marital support in dealing with work-related stressors. In addition, the influence of daily hassles and major life events as context variables was examined.

A sample of 99 married, full-time employees was obtained from the civil service workforce of a large rural county in New York State. Subjects were asked to describe the most stressful thing that had happened to them in the past month, how they coped with it, who they talked to about it, and how they felt about the way the situation turned out. Additional information was obtained about their level of marital adjustment, number of daily hassles in the past month and number of major life events in the past year.

The results did not support the marital adjustment main effects hypothesis. The buffering effects hypothesis was supported when marital adjustment was considered as the support variable. The marital support process in a work situation was discussed in relation to the appraisal and coping processes. The influence of daily hassles over major life events in determining how subjects would appraise and cope with a situation was also confirmed.


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