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Research has found that there is a positive association between Relationship Quality and Work Engagement, independent of the other work-centric, relationship-centric and socio-demographic factors

For the employee and for businesses, research suggests that happy employees increase profitability and have the potential through strengthened relationships at home and with business partners to accelerate business growth (Turvey et al, 2006).

In a UK study of British organisations, individuals, couples and families (Burnett et al: 2015), the researchers highlighted the mutually positive benefits that a healthy dynamic between work and home-life can bring and how an increased understanding about the connection between Relationship Quality and Work Engagement. They found that the association between Relationship Quality and well-being is now recognised as unequivocal.

This is especially pertinent at a time of increased divorce rates and declining marriage rates and the increased projections of the proportion of relationships likely to separate. Additionally, the increased likelihood of cohabiting relationships breaking down compared to those married and the subsequent increases in the number of children experiencing the separation of their cohabiting parents and the impact on the level of relationship quality, raises complex and competing factors for couples and their children and the workforce.

Research suggests that cohabitation prior to marriage is usually associated with lower levels of relationship satisfaction and where children are involved, higher levels of family instability are experienced in the first 12 years of children’s lives (DeRose et al, 2017).

The UK researchers identified the following five factors associated with Relationship Quality:

  1. Work Engagement: those who were more engaged at work reported better Relationship Quality with their partner;
  2. Parental-status: Parents had lower Relationship Quality than non-parents;
  3. Work-Family Conflict: Those with greater levels of Work-Family Conflict (work-life impacting on family-life) reported worse Relationship Quality;
  4. Family-Work Conflict: Those with greater levels of Family-Work Conflict (family-life impacting on work-life) reported worse Relationship Quality;
  5. Flexibility: Those who worked flexibly reported lower levels of Relationship Quality compared to those who do not.

The headline finding in the UK study (Burnett et al: 2015) found that there was a positive association between Relationship Quality and Work Engagement that exists independently of the other work-centric, relationship-centric and socio-demographic factors. That is, high Relationship Quality would extend to improvements in Work Engagement. Likewise, improvements in Work Engagement would predict increases in Relationship Quality.

Tune in next week to understand how the Value of Healthy Couple Families to Business.


  • Burnett, S. B, Coleman, L, Houlston, C and Reynolds, J., 2015: Happy Homes and Productive Workplaces – Summary Report of research findings. OnePlusOne and Working Families UK
  • DeRose, L. Lyons-Amos, M.; Wilcox, W.B.; and Huarcaya, G. 2017: The Cohabitation-go-round: Cohabitation and Family Stability Across the Globe, Social Trends Institute, World Family Map 2017
    Turvey, M. D., & Olson, D. H., 2006: Marriage & Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business? A Marriage CoMission Research Report. Minneapolis, MN

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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