The interplay of couple's shared time, women's intimacy, and intradyadic stress

Anne Milek, Emily A. Butler, Guy Bodenmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Theoretically, spending time together should be central for couples to build intimacy and should be associated with less relationship stress; however, few empirical studies have examined these links. The present study used 14 days of diary data from 92 women to investigate the interplay between the amount of time they spent with their partner (shared time), intimacy, and daily stress originating inside the relationship (intradyadic stress) on a within- and between-personal level. Multilevel analyses revealed moderation patterns: For example, when women spent more time with their partners than usual on a weekday with low levels of intradyadic stress, they reported higher intimacy. These associations varied substantially between women and were weaker on the weekend or on days with high levels of intradyadic stress. At the between-person level, higher average shared time appeared to buffer the negative association between intradyadic stress and intimacy. Our results suggest that daily fluctuations in intradyadic stress, intimacy, and shared time may have different implications compared with aggregated amounts of those variables. Spending more time together on a weekday with low intimacy might be linked to more intradyadic stress, but aggregated over the long run, spending more time together may provide opportunities for stress resolution and help couples to maintain their intimacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-842
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Daily diary
  • Intimacy
  • Intradyadic stress
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Quality time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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