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Type-A Spouses Boost Workplace Success

Update Date: Sep 19, 2014 07:13 PM EDT

People with Type-A spouses make more money than those married to more laid-back people.

New research from Washington University in St. Louis analyzed data form a five-year study of nearly 5,000 married people ranging in age from 19 to 89. Participants took various psychological tests to determine their openness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and conscientiousness.

Researchers found that participants who scored highest on measures of occupational success were more likely to have spouses who scored high for conscientiousness. The findings held true regardless of whether the working spouse was male or female, according to researchers.

"Our study shows that it is not only your own personality that influences the experiences that lead to greater occupational success, but that your spouse's personality matters too," lead study author Dr. Joshua Jackson, PhD, assistant professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences, said in a news release.

"The experiences responsible for this association are not likely isolated events where the spouse convinces you to ask for a raise or promotion," Jackson explained. "Instead, a spouse's personality influences many daily factors that sum up and accumulate across time to afford one the many actions necessary to receive a promotion or a raise."

Researchers believe that conscientious spouses boost success because the working spouse can rely on his or her partner to handle day-to-day household responsibilities. Conscientious spouses could also help their partners develop good habits that boost diligence and reliability at the workplace. Having a conscientious spouse that keeps your personal life running smoothly could also reduce stress and make it easier for working spouses to maintain a productive work-life balance.

"This is another example where personality traits are found to predict broad outcomes like health status or occupational success, as in this study," Jackson said. "What is unique to this study is that your spouse's personality has an influence on such important life experiences."

The latest findings were published in the journal Psychological Science.

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