Spouses' personality affects your career success: Study

  • ANI, Washington
  • Updated: Sep 19, 2014 15:46 IST

A new study has found that personality traits of husbands and wives matter as they may have influence over each other's career success.

Joshua Jackson, lead author of the research from Washington University in St Louis, said that their study suggested that it is not only a person's own personality that influences the experiences that lead to greater occupational success, but their spouses' personality matters too.

He added that a spouses' personality influences many daily factors that summed up and accumulated across time to lead to the many actions necessary in getting a promotion or a raise.

The findings are based on a five-year study of nearly 5,000 married people ranging in age from 19 to 89, with both spouses working in about 75% of the sample.

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Jackson and co-author Brittany Solomon analyzed data on study participants who took a series of psychological tests to assess their scores on five broad measures of personality: openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and conscientiousness.

They tracked the on-the-job performance of working spouses using annual surveys designed to measure occupational success, self-reported opinions on job satisfaction, salary increases and the likelihood of being promoted.

Workers who scored highest on measures of occupational success tended to have a spouse with a personality that scored high for conscientiousness, and this was true whether or not both spouses worked and regardless of whether the working spouse was male or female, the study found.

Their findings suggested that having a conscientious spouse contributes to workplace success in three ways.

First, through a process known as outsourcing, the working spouse may come to rely on their partner to handle more of the day-to-day household chores. Workers also may be likely to emulate some of the good habits of their conscientious spouses, bringing traits such as diligence and reliability to bear on their own workplace challenges. Finally, having a spouse that kept your personal life running smoothly may simply reduce stress and make it easier to maintain a productive work-life balance.

The study is due to be published in the journal Psychological Science.

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