Like ships passing in the night? Nonstandard work schedules and spousal satisfaction in Finland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom

  • Kaisa Malinen
  • Anna Rönkä
  • Eija Sevón
Keywords: content analysis, cross-cultural, nonstandard working times, spousal satisfaction, structural equation modeling, work schedules


This study examined the associations of work schedules and spousal satisfaction among Finnish (n = 347), Dutch (n = 304) and British (n = 337) parents. In addition to comparing parents with nonstandard schedule with parents in regular day work, the study examined separately the roles played in spousal satisfaction of morning, evening, night and weekend work and other working time-related variables (working hours, changes in and influence over one’s work schedules and spouse’s work schedule). The three-country data were analyzed using structural equation modeling with a multigroup procedure in Mplus. Little evidence for negative associations of work schedules and related factors with spousal satisfaction was found among the present European employees. No between-country differences were found in the examined associations. The quantitative analyses were supplemented with content analysis of parents’ descriptions of the experienced effects of their working times on their spousal relationship. Parents described their working times mostly as having a negative influence on their possibilities of being together, organization of daily life, psychological and physiological reactions and spousal communication. Some, however, also mentioned benefits and finding solutions to problems related to their working times.