The interactive effects of dual-earner couples’ job insecurity: Linking conservation of resources theory with crossover research

Maike E. Debus, Dana Unger

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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The present study examines job insecurity in the context of dual-earner couples. Linking conservation of resources theory (e.g., Hobfoll, 1989, Am. Psychol., 44, 513) with crossover research (e.g., Westman, 2001, Hum. Relat., 54, 717), we proposed that a partner's job insecurity constitutes an additional resource threat. Thus, the partner's job insecurity would exacerbate a person's negative reaction to his or her own job insecurity in terms of attitudinal (i.e., work engagement) and both health- and withdrawal-related outcomes (i.e., psychological health and turnover intention). Using a time-lagged design and multisource data from 171 mixed-gender dual-earner couples, multilevel path analysis applying the Actor-Partner-Interdependence Model revealed interesting gender differences. The negative relationship between the husband's job insecurity and his work engagement was stronger, the higher his wife's job insecurity was. The data further showed a moderated mediation, such that the husband's job insecurity was negatively and indirectly related to both psychological health and turnover intention (via reduced work engagement) if his wife experienced a medium or high level of job insecurity. Our study demonstrates the interactive effects of stressors in dual-earner couples, and highlights the importance of overcoming an overly individualistic perspective when studying job insecurity in particular and stressors more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-247
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date2 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • job insecurity
  • health
  • work engagement
  • dual-earner couples
  • stress

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