Associations among financial well-being, daily relationship tension, and daily affect in two adult cohorts separated by the great recession

August I.C. Jenkins, Yunying Le, Agus Surachman, David M. Almeida, Steffany J. Fredman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Financial well-being may be an important context for daily emotional reactivity to relationship tension (e.g., arguments) whose salience varies across historical time or as a function of exposure to economic downturns. This study investigated how emotional reactivity, operationalized as daily fluctuations in negative and positive affect associated with the occurrence of daily relationship tension, varied by financial well-being among those who were and were not exposed to the Great Recession of 2008. Two matched, independent subsamples of partnered individuals from the National Study of Daily Experiences completed identical 8-day diary protocols, one before the Great Recession (n = 587) and one after (n = 351). Individuals reported higher negative affect and lower positive affect on days when relationship tension occurred. Further, results indicated that negative affect reactivity, but not positive affect reactivity, was moderated by both financial well-being and cohort status. For the pre-recession cohort, negative affect reactivity was stronger among those with lower financial well-being. However, among the post-recession cohort, financial well-being did not moderate negative affect reactivity to relationship tension. Findings highlight the utility of considering major societal events, such as economic downturns, to understand variability in emotional reactivity to day-to-day relationship tension in the context of financial well-being, as the salience of financial well-being in the ways relationship tension and negative affect are related on a daily basis appears to vary by historical context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1125
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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