A question of time: Daily time allocation between work and private life

Dana Unger, Cornelia Niessen, Sabine Sonnentag, Angela Neff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This diary study investigates time allocation between work and private life of dual-earner couples. Addressing the association between positive and negative experiences in romantic relationships and time spent on work, we test propositions derived from a general control-theoretical approach. We also study the consequences of time allocation to work and private life for relationship-oriented needs and goals (i.e., intimacy and social support). A total of 152 persons (i.e., 76 couples), mainly working in academia, took part in our study. Using multilevel path analysis, we found support for the general control-theoretical approach. Relationship quality was positively and relationship hassles were negatively associated with time spent on work. We found evidence for a trade-off between time spent on work and relationship time. Relationship time in turn was positively associated with intimacy and social support. In our discussion, we stress the importance of time control in organizations in order to support employees in their daily trade-off between time spent on work and on the relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-176
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Early online date6 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2014


  • time allocation
  • diary study
  • self-regulation
  • relationship quality
  • relationship hassles
  • working time
  • social support
  • intimacy

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