Publications by Author:

In Press
Lee S, Almeida DM, Berkman L, Olson R, Moen P, Buxton OM. Age differences in workplace intervention effects on employees' nighttime and daytime sleep. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation. In Press.Abstract

Objectives: To examine the effects of a workplace flexibility/support intervention on employees' sleep quantity and quality during nights and days and whether the effects differ by employee age.

2017
DePasquale N, Mogle J, Zarit SH, Okechukwu C, Kossek EE, Almeida DM. The Family Time Squeeze: Perceived Family Time Adequacy Buffers Work Strain in Certified Nursing Assistants With Multiple Caregiving Roles. Gerontologist. 2017.Abstract
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: This study examined how certified nursing assistants (CNAs) with unpaid family caregiving roles for children ("double-duty-child caregivers"), older adults ("double-duty-elder caregivers"), and both children and older adults ("triple-duty caregivers") differed from their nonfamily caregiving counterparts ("workplace-only caregivers") on four work strain indicators (emotional exhaustion, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and work climate for family sacrifices). The moderating effects of perceived family time adequacy were also evaluated. DESIGN AND METHODS: Regression analyses were conducted on survey data from 972 CNAs working in U.S.-based nursing homes. RESULTS: Compared with workplace-only caregivers, double-and-triple-duty caregivers reported more emotional exhaustion and pressure to make family sacrifices for the sake of work. Triple-duty caregivers also reported less job satisfaction. Perceived family time adequacy buffered double-duty-child and triple-duty caregivers' emotional exhaustion and turnover intentions, as well as reversed triple-duty caregivers' negative perceptions of the work climate. IMPLICATIONS: Perceived family time adequacy constitutes a salient psychological resource for double-duty-child and triple-duty caregivers' family time squeezes. Amid an unprecedented demand for long-term care and severe direct-care workforce shortages, future research on workplace factors that increase double-and-triple-duty caregiving CNAs' perceived family time adequacy is warranted to inform long-term care organizations' development of targeted recruitment, retention, and engagement strategies.
Sin NL, Almeida DM, Crain TL, Kossek EE, Berkman LF, Buxton OM. Bidirectional, Temporal Associations of Sleep with Positive Events, Affect, and Stressors in Daily Life Across a Week. Annals of Behavioral Medicine [Internet]. 2017 :1–14. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Sleep is intricately tied to emotional well-being, yet little is known about the reciprocal links between sleep and psychosocial experiences in the context of daily life.
2016
Moen P, Kelly EL, Lee S-R, Oakes JM, Fan W, Bray J, Almeida D, Hammer L, Hurtado D, Buxton O. Can a Flexibility/Support Initiative Reduce Turnover Intentions and Exits? Results from the Work, Family, and Health Network. Social Problems [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We draw on panel data from a randomized field experiment to assess the effects of a flexibility/supervisor support initiative called STAR on turnover intentions and voluntary turnover among professional technical workers in a large firm. An unanticipated exogenous shock—the announcement of an impending merger—occurred in the middle of data collection. Both organizational changes reflect an emerging employment contract characterized by increasing employee temporal flexibility even as employers wield greater flexibility in reorganizing their workforces. We theorized STAR would reduce turnover intentions and actual turnover by making it more attractive to stay with the current employer. We found being in a STAR team (versus a usual practice team) lowered turnover intentions 12 months later and reduced the risk of voluntary turnover over almost three years. We also examined potential mechanisms accounting for the effects of these two organizational changes; STAR effects on reducing turnover intentions are partially mediated by reducing work-to-family conflict, family-to-work conflict, burnout, psychological distress, perceived stress, and increasing job satisfaction. The effect of learning about the merger on increasing turnover intentions is fully mediated by increased job insecurity. STAR also moderates the negative effects of learning about the merger on turnover intentions for different subgroups. Findings provide insights into the effectiveness of an organizational intervention, the dynamics of organizations, and how competing logics of two organizational changes affect employees’ labor market expectations and behavior.

Lee S, Crain TL, McHale SM, Almeida DM, Buxton OM. Daily antecedents and consequences of nightly sleep. Journal of Sleep Research [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Sleep can serve as both cause and consequence of individuals’ everyday experiences. We built upon prior studies of the correlates of sleep, which have relied primarily on cross-sectional data, to examine the antecedents and consequences of sleep using a daily diary design. Specifically, we assessed the temporal sequence between nightly sleep and daily psychosocial stressors. Parents employed in a US information technology company (n = 102) completed eight consecutive daily diaries at both baseline and 1 year later. In telephone interviews each evening, participants reported on the previous night's sleep hours, sleep quality and sleep latency. They also reported daily work-to-family conflict and time inadequacy (i.e. perceptions of not having enough time) for their child and for themselves to engage in exercise. Multi-level models testing lagged and non-lagged effects simultaneously revealed that sleep hours and sleep quality were associated with next-day consequences of work-to-family conflict and time inadequacy, whereas psychosocial stressors as antecedents did not predict sleep hours or quality that night. For sleep latency, the opposite temporal order emerged: on days with more work-to-family conflict or time inadequacy for child and self than usual, participants reported longer sleep latencies than usual. An exception to this otherwise consistent pattern was that time inadequacy for child also preceded shorter sleep hours and poorer sleep quality that night. The results highlight the utility of a daily diary design for capturing the temporal sequences linking sleep and psychosocial stressors.

Buxton OM, Lee S, Beverly C, Berkman LF, Moen P, Kelly EL, Hammer LB, Almeida DM. Work-Family Conflict and Employee Sleep: Evidence from IT Workers in the Work, Family and Health Study. Sleep. 2016.Abstract
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Work-family conflict is a threat to healthy sleep behaviors among employees. This study aimed to examine how Work-to-Family Conflict (demands from work that interfere with one's family/ personal life; WTFC) and Family-to-Work Conflict (demands from family/ personal life that interfere with work; FTWC) are associated with several dimensions of sleep among information technology workers. METHODS: Employees at a U.S. IT firm (N=799) provided self-reports of sleep sufficiency (feeling rested upon waking), sleep quality, and sleep maintenance insomnia symptoms (waking up in the middle of the night or early morning) in the last month. They also provided a week of actigraphy for nighttime sleep duration, napping, sleep timing, and a novel sleep inconsistency measure. Analyses adjusted for work conditions (job demands, decision authority, schedule control, and family-supportive supervisor behavior), and household and sociodemographic characteristics. RESULTS: Employees who experienced higher WTFC reported less sleep sufficiency, poorer sleep quality, and more insomnia symptoms. Higher WTFC also predicted shorter nighttime sleep duration, greater likelihood of napping, and longer nap duration. Furthermore, higher WTFC was linked to greater inconsistency of nighttime sleep duration and sleep clock times, whereas higher FTWC was associated with more rigidity of sleep timing mostly driven by wake time. CONCLUSION: Results highlight the unique associations of WTFC/ FTWC with employee sleep independent of other work conditions and household and sociodemographic characteristics. Our novel methodological approach demonstrates differential associations of WTFC and FTWC with inconsistency of sleep timing. Given the strong associations between WTFC and poor sleep, future research should focus on reducing WTFC.
DePasquale N, Zarit SH, Mogle J, Moen P, Hammer LB, Almeida DM. Double- and Triple-Duty Caregiving Men: An Examination of Subjective Stress and Perceived Schedule Control. Journal of Applied Gerontology [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Based on the stress process model of family caregiving, this study examined subjective stress appraisals and perceived schedule control among men employed in the long-term care industry (workplace-only caregivers) who concurrently occupied unpaid family caregiving roles for children (double-duty child caregivers), older adults (double-duty elder caregivers), and both children and older adults (triple-duty caregivers). Survey responses from 123 men working in nursing home facilities in the United States were analyzed using multiple linear regression models. Results indicated that workplace-only and double- and triple-duty caregivers’ appraised primary stress similarly. However, several differences emerged with respect to secondary role strains, specifically work–family conflict, emotional exhaustion, and turnover intentions. Schedule control also constituted a stress buffer for double- and triple-duty caregivers, particularly among double-duty elder caregivers. These findings contribute to the scarce literature on double- and triple-duty caregiving men and have practical implications for recruitment and retention strategies in the health care industry.
DePasquale N, Polenick CA, Hinde J, Bray JW, Zarit SH, Moen P, Hammer LB, Almeida DM. Health Behavior Among Men With Multiple Family Roles: The Moderating Effects of Perceived Partner Relationship Quality. American Journal of Men's Health [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Men in the United States are increasingly involved in their children’s lives and currently represent 40% of informal caregivers to dependent relatives or friends aged 18 years and older. Yet much more is known about the health effects of varying family role occupancies for women relative to men. The present research sought to fill this empirical gap by first comparing the health behavior (sleep duration, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, exercise, fast food consumption) of men who only occupy partner roles and partnered men who also fill father, informal caregiver, or both father and informal caregiver (i.e., sandwiched) roles. The moderating effects of perceived partner relationship quality, conceptualized here as partner support and strain, on direct family role–health behavior linkages were also examined. A secondary analysis of survey data from 366 cohabiting and married men in the Work, Family and Health Study indicated that men’s multiple family role occupancies were generally not associated with health behavior. With men continuing to take on more family responsibilities, as well as the serious health consequences of unhealthy behavior, the implications of these null effects are encouraging - additional family roles can be integrated into cohabiting and married men’s role repertoires with minimal health behavior risks. Moderation analysis revealed, however, that men’s perceived partner relationship quality constituted a significant factor in determining whether multiple family role occupancies had positive or negative consequences for sleep duration, alcohol consumption, and fast food consumption. These findings are discussed in terms of their empirical and practical implications for partnered men and their families.
Lippold MA, Davis KD, McHale SM, Buxton OM, Almeida DM. Daily Stressor Reactivity During Adolescence: The Buffering Role of Parental Warmth. Health Psychology [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Objective: This study examined youth stressor reactivity in the form of links between daily stressors and adolescents’ negative affect, physical health symptoms, and cortisol patterns. We also tested whether youth gender and parental warmth moderated these linkages. Method: Participants were the children of employees in the information technology division of a large company (N = 132, mean age = 13.39 years, 55% female). Youth completed daily diary telephone interviews on 8 consecutive evenings and provided saliva samples at 4 time points over 4 days to assess daily stressors and youth physiological and affective functioning. Parental warmth was assessed during in-home interviews. Multilevel modeling was used to account for interdependencies in the data. Results: Youth who experienced more daily stressors, on average, reported more negative affect and physical health symptoms, on average. Furthermore, on days youth reported more stressors than usual (compared to their own across-day average), they also exhibited more physical health symptoms, reduced evening cortisol decline (e.g., flatter slopes), higher bedtime cortisol, and more negative affect. Girls had stronger within-person linkages between daily stressors and daily negative affect than boys. Parental warmth moderated these within-person linkages: Youth who experienced more parental warmth had lower negative affect and steeper cortisol decline than usual on less stressful days. However, youth who experienced less parental warmth had higher negative affect and their cortisol levels declined less, even on days with lower-than-usual stress. Conclusions: Daily stressors are associated with youth’s affective and physiological functioning, but parental warmth can support youth’s stress recovery. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Lippold MA, Davis KD, McHale SM, Almeida DM. Daily parental knowledge of youth activities is linked to youth physical symptoms and HPA functioning. Journal of Family Psychology [Internet]. 2016;30 (2) :245-253. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Considerable evidence documents linkages between parental knowledge of youth activities and youth risky behavior. We extended this research to determine whether parental knowledge was associated with youth physical health, including reports of physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, stomachaches) and a biomarker of hypothalamic pituitary adrenocortical (HPA) axis functioning (i.e., salivary cortisol levels). Participants were children of employees in the Information Technology division of a Fortune 500 company (N = 132, mean age youth = 13.39 years, 55% female) who participated in a daily diary study. Data were collected via telephone calls on 8 consecutive evenings. On 4 study days, cortisol samples were collected at 4 time points (waking, 30 min after waking, before dinner, bedtime). Multilevel models revealed that, at the between-person level, youth whose parents had higher average knowledge about their activities, exhibited lower bedtime cortisol levels. Furthermore, at the within-person level, on days when parents displayed more knowledge than usual (relative to their own 8-day average), youth had lower before-dinner cortisol than usual. Linkages between average parental knowledge and physical health symptoms were moderated by youth age: Younger but not older adolescents whose parents were more knowledgeable had fewer physical health symptoms, on average. A next step is to identify the processes that underlie these associations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Lawson KM, Davis KD, McHale SM, Almeida DM, Kelly EL, King RB. Effects of Workplace Intervention on Affective Well-Being in Employees’ Children. Developmental Psychology [Internet]. 2016. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Using a group-randomized field experimental design, this study tested whether a workplace intervention—designed to reduce work–family conflict—buffered against potential age-related decreases in the affective well-being of employees’ children. Daily diary data were collected from 9- to 17-year-old children of parents working in an information technology division of a U.S. Fortune 500 company prior to and 12 months after the implementation of the Support-Transform-Achieve-Results (STAR) workplace intervention. Youth (62 with parents in the STAR group, 41 in the usual-practice group) participated in 8 consecutive nightly phone calls, during which they reported on their daily stressors and affect. Well-being was indexed by positive and negative affect and affective reactivity to daily stressful events. The randomized workplace intervention increased youth positive affect and buffered youth from age-related increases in negative affect and affective reactivity to daily stressors. Future research should test specific conditions of parents’ work that may penetrate family life and affect youth well-being. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Moen P, Kelly EL, Lee S-R, Almeida DM, Kossek EE, Buxton OM. Does a Flexibility/Support Organizational Initiative Improve High-Tech Employees’ Well-Being? Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network. American Sociological Review [Internet]. 2016;81 (1) :134-164. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study tests a central theoretical assumption of stress process and job strain models, namely that increases in employees’ control and support at work should promote well-being. To do so, we use a group-randomized field trial with longitudinal data from 867 information technology (IT) workers to investigate the well-being effects of STAR, an organizational intervention designed to promote greater employee control over work time and greater supervisor support for workers’ personal lives. We also offer a unique analysis of an unexpected field effect—a company merger—among workers surveyed earlier versus later in the study period, before or after the merger announcement. We find few STAR effects for the latter group, but over 12 months, STAR reduced burnout, perceived stress, and psychological distress, and increased job satisfaction, for the early survey group. STAR effects are partially mediated by increases in schedule control and declines in family-to-work conflict and burnout (an outcome and mediator) by six months. Moderating effects show that STAR benefits women in reducing psychological distress and perceived stress, and increases non-supervisory employees’ job satisfaction. This study demonstrates, with a rigorous design, that organizational-level initiatives can promote employee well-being.

2015
Lee S, Almeida DM, Davis KD, King RB, Hammer LB, Kelly EL. Latent profiles of perceived time adequacy for paid work, parenting, and partner roles. Journal of Family Psychology [Internet]. 2015;25 (5) :788-98. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This study examined feelings of having enough time (i.e., perceived time adequacy) in a sample of employed parents (N = 880) in information technology and extended-care industries. Adapting a person-centered latent profile approach, we identified 3 profiles of perceived time adequacy for paid work, parenting, and partner roles: family time protected, family time sacrificed, and time balanced. Drawing upon the conservation of resources theory (Hobfòll, 1989), we examined the associations of stressors and resources with the time adequacy profiles. Parents in the family time sacrificed profile were more likely to be younger, women, have younger children, work in the extended-care industry, and have nonstandard work schedules compared to those in the family time protected profile. Results from multinomial logistic regression analyses revealed that, with the time balanced profile as the reference group, having fewer stressors and more resources in the family context (less parent-child conflict and more partner support), work context (longer company tenure, higher schedule control and job satisfaction), and work-family interface (lower work-to-family conflict) was linked to a higher probability of membership in the family time protected profile. By contrast, having more stressors and fewer resources, in the forms of less partner support and higher work-to-family conflict, predicted a higher likelihood of being in the family time sacrificed profile. Our findings suggest that low work-to-family conflict is the most critical predictor of membership in the family time protected profile, whereas lack of partner support is the most important factor to be included in the family time sacrificed profile.

DePasquale N, Polenick CA, Davis KD, Moen P, Hammer LB, Almeida DM. The Psychosocial Implications of Managing Work and Family Caregiving Roles: Gender Differences Among Information Technology Professionals. Journal of Family Issues [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

An increasing number of adults, both men and women, are simultaneously managing work and family caregiving roles. Guided by the stress process model, we investigate whether 823 employees occupying diverse family caregiving roles (child caregiving only, elder caregiving only, and both child caregiving and elder caregiving, or “sandwiched” caregiving) and their noncaregiving counterparts in the information technology division of a white-collar organization differ on several indicators of psychosocial stress along with gender differences in stress exposure. Compared with noncaregivers, child caregivers reported more perceived stress and partner strain whereas elder caregivers reported greater perceived stress and psychological distress. With the exception of work-to-family conflict, sandwiched caregivers reported poorer overall psychosocial functioning. Additionally, sandwiched women reported more family-to-work conflict and less partner support than their male counterparts. Further research on the implications of combining a white-collar employment role with different family caregiving roles is warranted.

Almeida DM, Davis KD, Lee S, Lawson KM, Walter KN, Moen P. Supervisor Support Buffers Daily Psychological and Physiological Reactivity to Work-to-Family Conflict. Journal of Marriage and Family [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Using a daily diary design, the current study assessed within-person associations of work-to-family conflict with negative affect and salivary cortisol. Furthermore, the authors investigated whether supervisor support moderated these associations. Over 8 consecutive days, 131 working parents employed by an information technology company answered telephone interviews about stressors and mood that occurred in the previous 24 hours. On Days 2–4 of the study protocol, they also provided 5 saliva samples throughout the day that were assayed for cortisol. Results indicated a high degree of day-to-day fluctuation in work-to-family conflict, with employed parents having greater negative affect and poorer cortisol regulation on days with higher work-to-family conflict compared to days when they experience lower work-to-family conflict. These associations were buffered, however, when individuals had supervisors who offered support. Discussion centers on the use of dynamic assessments of work-to-family conflict and employee well-being.

DePasquale N, Bangerter, Lauren R, Williams JA, Almeida DM. Certified Nursing Assistants Balancing Family Caregiving Roles: Health Care Utilization Among Double- and Triple-Duty Caregivers. The Gerontologist [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Purpose of the Study: This study examines how certified nursing assistants (CNAs) balancing family caregiving roles—child care (double-duty child caregivers), elder care (double-duty elder caregivers), and both child and elder care (triple-duty caregivers)—utilize health care services relative to nonfamily caregiving counterparts (formal-only caregivers).Design and Methods: A sample of 884 CNAs from the Work, Family and Health Study was drawn on to assess the number of acute care (i.e., emergency room or urgent care facility) and other health care (i.e., outpatient treatment or counseling) visits made during the past 6 months.Results: Double-duty elder and triple-duty caregivers had higher acute care utilization rates than formal-only caregivers. CNAs with and without family caregiving roles had similar rates of other health care visits.Implications: CNAs providing informal care for older adults have higher acute care visit rates. Given the increasing need for family caregivers and the vital importance of the health of the nursing workforce for the health of others, future research on how double- and triple-duty caregivers maintain their health amidst constant caregiving should be a priority.

Davis KD, Lawson KM, Almeida DM, Davis KD, King RB, Hammer LB, Casper LM, Okechukwu CA, Hanson GC, McHale SM. Parent's daily time with their children: A workplace intervention. Pediatrics [Internet]. 2015. Publisher's VersionAbstract

OBJECTIVES: In the context of a group randomized field trial, we evaluated whether parents who participated in a workplace intervention, designed to increase supervisor support for personal and family life and schedule control, reported significantly more daily time with their children at the 12-month follow-up compared with parents assigned to the Usual Practice group. We also tested whether the intervention effect was moderated by parent gender, child gender, or child age.

METHODS: The Support-Transform-Achieve-Results Intervention was delivered in an information technology division of a US Fortune 500 company. Participants included 93 parents (45% mothers) of a randomly selected focal child aged 9 to 17 years (49% daughters) who completed daily telephone diaries at baseline and 12 months after intervention. During evening telephone calls on 8 consecutive days, parents reported how much time they spent with their child that day.

RESULTS: Parents in the intervention group exhibited a significant increase in parent-child shared time, 39 minutes per day on average, between baseline and the 12-month follow-up. By contrast, parents in the Usual Practice group averaged 24 fewer minutes with their child per day at the 12-month follow-up. Intervention effects were evident for mothers but not for fathers and for daughters but not sons.

CONCLUSIONS: The hypothesis that the intervention would improve parents’ daily time with their children was supported. Future studies should examine how redesigning work can change the quality of parent-child interactions and activities known to be important for youth health and development.

Moen P, Kaduk A, Kossek EE, Hammer LB, Buxton OM, O'Donnell EM, Almeida DM, Fox K, Tranby E, Oakes MJ, et al. Is Work-family Conflict a Multilevel Stressor Linking Job Conditions to Mental Health? Evidence from the Work, Family and Health Network. In: Research in the Sociology of Work. Vol. 26. Bingley, West Yorkshire, England: Emerald Group Publishing Limited ; 2015. pp. pp.177 - 217. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Purpose: Most research on the work conditions and family responsibilities associated with work-family conflict and other measures of mental health uses the individual employee as the unit of analysis. We argue that work conditions are both individual psychosocial assessments and objective characteristics of the proximal work environment, necessitating multilevel analyses of both individual- and team-level work conditions on mental health.
Methodology/approach: This study uses multilevel data on 748 high-tech professionals in 120 teams to investigate relationships between team- and individual-level job conditions, work-family conflict, and four mental health outcomes (job satisfaction, emotional exhaustion, perceived stress, and psychological distress).
Findings: We find that work-to-family conflict is socially patterned across teams, as are job satisfaction and emotional exhaustion. Team-level job conditions predict team-level outcomes, while individuals’ perceptions of their job conditions are better predictors of individuals’ work-to-family conflict and mental health. Work-to-family conflict operates as a partial mediator between job demands and mental health outcomes.
Practical implications: Our findings suggest that organizational leaders concerned about presenteeism, sickness absences, and productivity would do well to focus on changing job conditions in ways that reduce job demands and work-to-family conflict in order to promote employees’ mental health.
Originality/value of the chapter: We show that both work-to-family conflict and job conditions can be fruitfully framed as team characteristics, shared appraisals held in common by team members. This challenges the framing of work-to-family conflict as a “private trouble” and provides support for work-to-family conflict as a structural mismatch grounded in the social and temporal organization of work.

2014
DePasquale N, Davis KD, Zarit SH, Moen P, Hammer LB, Almeida DM. Combining Formal and Informal Caregiving Roles: The Psychosocial Implications of Double- and Triple-Duty Care. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences [Internet]. 2014. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Objectives. Women who combine formal and informal caregiving roles represent a unique, understudied population. In the literature, healthcare employees who simultaneously provide unpaid elder care at home have been referred to as double-duty caregivers. The present study broadens this perspective by examining the psychosocial implications of double-duty child care (child care only), double-duty elder care (elder care only), and triple-duty care (both child care and elder care or “sandwiched” care).

Method. Drawing from the Work, Family, and Health Study, we focus on a large sample of women working in nursing homes in the United States (n = 1,399). We use multiple regression analysis and analysis of covariance tests to examine a range of psychosocial implications associated with double- and triple-duty care.

Results. Compared with nonfamily caregivers, double-duty child caregivers indicated greater family-to-work conflict and poorer partner relationship quality. Double-duty elder caregivers reported more family-to-work conflict, perceived stress, and psychological distress, whereas triple-duty caregivers indicated poorer psychosocial functioning overall.

Discussion. Relative to their counterparts without family caregiving roles, women with combined caregiving roles reported poorer psychosocial well-being. Additional research on women with combined caregiving roles, especially triple-duty caregivers, should be a priority amidst an aging population, older workforce, and growing number of working caregivers.

2013
Liu S, Rovine MJ, Klein LC, Almeida DM. Synchrony of diurnal cortisol pattern in couples. Journal of Family Psychology [Internet]. 2013;27 (4) :579-588. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Cortisol is a biomarker of stress reactivity, and its diurnal pattern is an indicator of general neuroendocrine health. Despite theories conceptualizing marital dyads as dynamic systems wherein spouses are interdependent in their physiology and stress coping, little is known about the daily processes in which spouses possibly influence each other in biological stress. Nineteen heterosexual couples provided saliva samples containing cortisol 4 times a day for 4 consecutive days. We used multilevel modeling to examine whether one’s cortisol awaking response (CAR) and diurnal cortisol slope (DCS) predict those of the spouse’s on the same day and/or on the next day. We found that spouses synchronize their DCS, such that on days when one experiences faster or slower decline in diurnal cortisol than usual, the spouse also experiences faster or slower decline than usual. For CAR, positive synchrony was only observed in couples reporting high levels of marital strain and disagreement. Cross-lagged regression analysis reveals stability in diurnal cortisol pattern. A steeper cortisol slope on a particular day predicts a steeper slope on the next day within an individual, but no significant cross-lagged relation was found between spouses. Couples reporting more spousal support tend to have stronger stability in CAR. These findings provide evidence that spouses are interdependent in their diurnal cortisol patterns on a day-to-day basis, and that these daily dynamics are associated with marital relationship quality. The study contributes to our understanding of marital processes and biobehavioral health. It also contributes methodologically to the advancement of longitudinal dyadic analysis. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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