How an abusive boss may wreck your marriage

Study: Employer-created stress overflows into family life

Working for a boss who engages in abusive behavior such as public put downs and unjust anger may hurt one's personal relationships, according to a study in Personnel Psychology.

For the study, Baylor University researchers asked 280 full-time workers how often their employer displayed abusive behavior, such as belittling their feelings, calling them incompetent, and unfairly taking out anger on them. They then asked the workers' spouses how often they felt irritated or resentful toward their partner.

The researchers found a correlation between a boss' abusive behavior and family problems. They also found that more children and longer marriages reduced the impact of a boss' abusive behavior.

According to study author Merideth Ferguson, supervisor abuse may increase tension in the relationship, decreasing the employee's motivation or ability to engage in positive interactions with their spouse or family.

Study author Dawn Carlson urges employers to "take steps to prevent or stop the abuse and also to provide opportunities for subordinates to effectively manage the fallout of abuse and keep it from affecting their families" (International Business Times, 11/28; UPI, 11/29; Medical News Today, 11/30).


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