Abusive boss puts strain on family life

Nov. 29, 2011 at 1:27 AM   |   Comments

WACO, Texas, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- An abusive boss not only causes stress and strain at work, but stress and strain at home as well, U.S. researchers said.

Study co-authors Dawn Carlson and Merideth Ferguson of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, suggested as supervisor abuse -- tantrums, rudeness, public criticism and inconsiderate action -- heightens tension, an employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with a partner and other family members.

The study, published online in the journal Personnel Psychology, found stress and tension caused by an abusive boss have an impact on an employee's partner, which affects the domestic relationship and, subsequently, the employee's entire family.

However, the study also found more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee, and the longer the partner's relationship, the less impact the abusive boss had on the family.

The study involved 280 full-time employees and their partners -- 57 percent of the employees were male with an average of five years in their current job; 75 percent had children living with them. The average age for the employee and the partner was 36 years. The average length of their relationship was 10 years.

"These findings have important implications for organizations and their managers," Carlson said. "The evidence highlights the need for organizations to send an unequivocal message to those in supervisory positions that these hostile and harmful behaviors will not be tolerated."

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