Abusive Boss May Harm Workers' Home Life, Too

But long-term partners, more kids may boost family satisfaction

FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Having an abusive boss can do more than ruin your workday, it can also harm your family life, new research suggests.

The study, published online and in the winter issue of the journal Personnel Psychology, included 280 full-time employees and their partners who completed online surveys.

The Baylor University researchers found that the stress and tension an abusive boss causes an employee also affects the worker's partner, their relationship and the rest of the family.

However, the longer the employee-partner relationship, the less effect the abusive boss had on the family. The researchers also found that having more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee.

"These findings have important implications for organizations and their managers. 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," study author Dawn Carlson, a professor of management and chair of organizational development at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor, said in a university news release.

Abuse by a boss may include tantrums, rudeness, public criticism and inconsiderate action, the study authors pointed out.

"It may be that as supervisor abuse heightens tension in the relationship, the employee is less motivated or able to engage in positive interactions with the partner and other family members," study co-author Merideth Ferguson, an assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, said in the news release.

Businesses and other organizations should encourage workers to use employee assistance programs or other resources, such as counseling and stress management, to find ways to reduce the impact an abusive boss has on the family, the study authors said.

More information

The American Psychological Association offers tips on managing your boss.

Robert Preidt SOURCE: Baylor University, news release, Nov. 28, 2011

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