Does work stress effect home relationships?

The short answer is YES. While most of us don’t need an academic study to confirm this, Neff and Karney (2009) did the study anyway. Not surprisingly, they found that when we are under greater stress in our lives, we are more reactive to the normal highs and lows of our relationship. We are also more likely to feel that we have picked up on a negative tone from simple a request from our significant other, and are more likely to feel the effects of this perceived negative message more accutely.

“Find positive ways to deal with individual stress.”

Are good communication skills enough to safe-guard your relationship in times of stress? You might feel confident that your fantastic communication skills are a match for any work place stress. However, Neff and Karney (2009) go on to share that while good relationship skills are vital, our ability to call on them fluctuates. Stress can affect our ability to call on good relationship skills. Does stress effect how you see your relationship? When our relationships are exposed to high stress for a prolonged time, we are more likely to see our relationship negatively.

We see our relationship through ‘stress glasses’. We are less likely to acknowledge that it is the stress that is the problem, not the relationship. The good news is, that when we remove the stress, we are able to access our positive relationship skills….and we usually do. The moral of the story is – find positive ways to deal with individual stress. Firstly, look for ways to minimise the stress. Secondly engage in activities that relieve stress – find a favourite physical exercise or stress-release activity that you like to do on a regular basis, then enjoy.
Jenny Ensing - Relationships Counsellor

Jenny Ensing - Relationships Counsellor

We all face challenges in our lives.

Courage Counselling is dedicated to helping you strengthen your relationships, regardless of the issue, or the size of the issue.
Courage Counselling can help you build strong relationships to help you get through.
For help with a relationship … contact me174 Contact me at 027 536 7464.
Jenny Ensing is a relationships counsellor who understands that pressure at work can flow over into home relationships, including marriage and partner relationships. Jenny is a partner in a business and has first hand experience in both running her business and keeping her 30 year marriage running sweetly.
Jenny Ensing

Relationships Counsellor, ,


Neff, L.A. & Karney, B.R. (2009). Stress and reactivity to daily relationship experiences: How stress hinders adaptive processes in marriage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97(3), 435-450, as cited in Grohol, J. (2009). Stress Hurts Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2016, from