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Work-Life Balance Tougher for Couples With Similar Jobs

FRIDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Couples with similar jobs are more likely to have trouble finding a good work-life balance than those in different lines of work, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire in England questioned 291 academic workers whose partners had jobs in education and 350 academic employees whose partners had another type of job. They also conducted 32 online interviews with academics whose partner held a similar job. Couples responded to questions about their work and home-life balance, how many hours they worked and their commitment to their job.

Couples with similar jobs had more problems with work-life balance, worked longer hours and were more dedicated to their job than those whose significant other had a different type of job, according to the study slated for presentation Thursday at a meeting of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology held in Chester, England.

"An increasing number of couples are employed in similar occupations -- this is particularly common for people working in education. The findings of these studies suggest that doing similar work to your partner means that work issues are more likely to 'spill over' into home life and threaten work-life balance," explained Professor Gail Kinman of the University of Bedfordshire in a society news release.

"However," she added, "evidence was also found that having a partner who does similar work can be beneficial as this can enhance mutual understanding of working conditions and increase support during stressful times. Nonetheless, the findings suggest that work-linked couples may need more support to help them set boundaries between work and home."

Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The American Psychological Association provides more information on marriage and divorce.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: British Psychological Society, news release, Jan. 12, 2012

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