145 Spouse’s Personality Impacts Partner

Based on research by Solomon, Brittany, & Jackson, Joshua (2014), written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS

You marry your spouse “for better, for worse” and “for richer, for poorer,” but does your choice of partner make you richer or poorer?  That is the question Psychologist Joshua Jackson and colleagues evaluated. Does a person’s personality characteristics impact their spouses’ work environment?

In a longitudinal study, they examined 4,500 married individuals assessing their spouse’s personality traits and how they related to participants’ occupational success.  The personality traits assessed included openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.  Success at work included job satisfaction, income, and likelihood of being promoted.

The results indicated that one’s partner’s conscientiousness, doing their work well and thoroughly, predicted future income, job satisfaction and likelihood of promotion.  This was the case for both male and female participants and dual or single employed couples.  How to explain the association between occupational success and partner conscientiousness? Conscientiousness led to sharing household tasks, thus reducing stress, allowing time to recharge, and focus better at work. Participants also likely modeled their spouse’s conscientiousness at work and had greater relationship satisfaction and thus spilled over into greater job satisfaction.

So think as a couple how you both can create conditions that allow you to foster your occupational careers and creative endeavors!


Solomon, B. C., & Jackson, J. J. (2014). The Long Reach of One’s Spouse Spouses’ Personality Influences Occupational Success. Psychological science, 0956797614551370.

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