Daily transmission of tensions between marital dyads and parent-child dyads

David M. Almeida, Elaine Wethington, Amy L. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations


This study examines how tension is transmitted between the marital dyad and the parent-child dyad on a day-to-day basis and explores how stable and changing aspects of the family moderate this process of tension spillover. Mothers and fathers (n = 117 couples) separately completed a short diary questionnaire that included a checklist of common daily stressful experiences on each of 42 consecutive days. Hierarchical generalized linear models showed that both mothers and fathers were more likely to have tense interactions with their children on days when there had been some marital tension the previous day. On days when fathers experienced other stressors, such as work overloads or home demands, they were more than twice as likely to experience tension spillover than on stress-free days. Fathers also reported more spillover when their wives were working full-time. In families with adolescents in the house, mothers had more tension spillover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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