Brittany Solomon and Joshua Jackson (both at Washington University in St. Louis) reported the results of such a study in the December 2014 issue of Psychological Science. They used an Australian sample of nearly 4000 participants with data collected over a 5-year period. All were heterosexual couples. About 22% were single income households; the rest, dual-income. The surveys measured the Big Five personality traits, job satisfaction, income, and whether the participant had received a promotion in the past year. Solomon and Jackson considered numerous other survey variables and how they might affect the results their conclusions.
So what did they find?
- People whose partners were higher in Conscientiousness had
--higher probability of a promotion
- These effects were even stronger in single-income households
- Both men and women benefited from conscientious partners
- People who outsourced more household tasks and errands to their partners were less satisfied at work but made more money
- People who were satisfied in their relationships with their partners were also happier at work but this had no effect on income or promotions
Bottom-line: “Highly conscientious partners help improve their spouses’ occupational success . . . due to partners creating conditions that allow their spouses to work more effectively” (p. 2195)
1. A very interesting study, useful for reflection. My guess would be there are cultural and individual differences. But all things being equal, these findings seem to make sense. Partners who are supportive of each other in meaningful ways probably do have a higher likelihood of success on the job.
2. This is yet another study demonstrating the importance of conscientiousness. As discussed in a previous blog, conscientious people tend to be healthier and more successful at work and marriage.
2. As leaders we may or may not know a person’s domestic situation, whether a partner is supportive or not. And my guess is that for those not in committed relationships, we probably are not going to be administering the Big Five Personality Inventory for mate selection anytime soon.
Solomon, B. C., & Jackson, J. J. (2014). The long reach of one's spouse: spouse's personality influences occupational success. Psychological Science, 25 (12), 2189-2198.
Image, "Bride and Groom" by Brocken Inaglory. From: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bride_and_groom_cropped.jpg
Used with permission Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
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