Family problems and work conflicts cause a vicious cycle of stress and confrontation

July 1, 2014

Worrying about family problems during work time increases conflict with work colleagues, which can lead to spousal arguments at home in the evening, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A study conducted by Dr Ana Sanz-Vergel and colleagues from UEA's Norwich Business School and Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, asked participants to rate how much had affected their concentration at , and how much they had experienced rudeness and arguments with their colleagues and with their partner.

Dr Sanz Vergel said: "The difficulty of focusing on work when distracted by family worries made employees irritable. This led to them reacting negatively towards colleagues instead of using more adaptive strategies, such as seeking social support or being assertive.

"This negativity is transferred to the in the form of increased conflict with their partners."

The findings are published today in the British Psychological Society's Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.

DrSanz-Vergel said: "Previous studies have demonstrated that psychological and physical job demands, role ambiguity, shift work or job insecurity can cause conflicts between work colleagues.

"In this study we examined how worrying about family issues can interfere with work, and affect interactions with at work and with partners at home."

Around 80 couples working in 25 different organisations filled in a general socio-demographic questionnaire, and also completed a survey twice each day over a working week. Nearly 70 per cent of couples had at least one child. The mean age of participants was 42.

The daily interpersonal conflicts at work and daily family-work conflicts were measured at the end of the workday. Daily interpersonal at home were reported before going to bed

"These findings may help us to better understand how -work conflict affects our relationships with others both at work and at home and on a daily basis."

Explore further: Frequent arguments with family and friends linked to doubling in death risk in middle age

More information: Ana Isabel Sanz-Vergel, Alfredo Rodríguez-Muñoz and Karina Nielsen. "The thin line between work and home: the spillover and crossover of daily conflicts." JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY. Article first published online : 30 JUN 2014, DOI: 10.1111/joop.12075

Related Stories

Frequent arguments with family and friends linked to doubling in death risk in middle age

May 8, 2014
Frequent arguments with partners, relatives, or neighbours may boost the risk of death from any cause in middle age, suggests research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Study examines correctional officer stress

February 20, 2014
Conflicts between work and family life were the most significant issues that affect work stress and job satisfaction among correctional officers, a new study by the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston ...

Juggling act between work and home responsibilities cause problems for American doctors

September 16, 2013
Spare a thought for American doctors and their partners: because of long working hours and dedication to their work, they seem to have more squabbles over home and family responsibilities than people in most other professions. ...

Recommended for you

How the shape and size of your face relates to your sexuality

September 19, 2017
Men and women with shorter, wider faces tend to be more sexually motivated and to have a stronger sex drive than those with faces of other dimensions. These are the findings from a study led by Steven Arnocky of Nipissing ...

Behavioral therapy increases connectivity in brains of people with OCD

September 19, 2017
UCLA researchers report that people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, when treated with a special form of talk therapy, demonstrate distinct changes in their brains as well as improvement in their symptoms.

People with schizophrenia have threefold risk of dying

September 18, 2017
People with schizophrenia are three times more likely to die, and die younger, than the general population, indicating a need for solutions to narrow this gap, according to research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association ...

Cognitive scientists find that people can more easily communicate warmer colors than cool ones

September 18, 2017
The human eye can perceive millions of different colors, but the number of categories human languages use to group those colors is much smaller. Some languages use as few as three color categories (words corresponding to ...

Why bad sleep doesn't always lead to depression

September 18, 2017
Poor sleep is both a risk factor, and a common symptom, of depression. But not everyone who tosses and turns at night becomes depressed.

Happiness is not determined by childhood biomarkers

September 18, 2017
Happiness is not determined by childhood biological markers such as height or body fat, according to a team of European researchers involving UCL.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.