Does work stress affect your family life? When work stress contaminates personal life, the well-being of the family can also collapse, suggests new evidence.
A recent conference on work, stress and health, sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the United States It included research on workplaces that support the family and the influence of supervisors (for better or for worse) on the health of employees.
"The results of the survey vary, but you can find a large number of individuals who report that work is the greatest source of stress in their lives," lamented Michael Ford, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California. Albany University and the State University of New York .
"At the same time, we all have a life outside of work," Ford said. "We must also continue to understand how this affects the psychological and physical well-being of the population, and I think it's something that many people can identify with."
Another presenter at the Los Angeles conference explained that when it comes to work-related stress, the health consequences are all-encompassing. Leslie Hammer is a psychology professor at the Portland State University in Oregon, and director of the Center for Work, Family Stress, Safety and Health.
"We see problems with high levels of work stress and stress in working life," Hammer said. "We see higher levels of depression symptoms.
We also see an increase in the levels of negative health outcomes. Cardiovascular disease has a clear link to work pressure; obesity problems; general complaints of physical health. "Positive health behaviors can be discarded, he added.
"When people are stressed at work, when supervisors do not really endorse the problems that surround work life, we see more negative health behaviors in terms of poor food choices, lower levels of exercise and poor hygiene. sleep, "Hammer warned.
"The quality of the marriage is damaged, without a doubt," Hammer warned. "When you experience stress or negative pressure in your work life, you end up passing it on to your partner or your children."
In the Ford study that compared American and Chinese workplaces, he found that people in comprehensive work environments tended, in turn, to be more caring spouses.
Hammer commented that "in the research literature, there is correlative evidence that when the parents are more stressed, the children are more stressed, the children experience that stress, and it manifests itself in compliance with health issues and behavioral difficulties" .
Managers and supervisors are an important source of support at work ... or stress.
"The lack of support or abusive behavior on the part of the supervisor can affect life at home, both in terms of time and energy that robs people and their effect on mood," Ford said. "Of course, that can potentially affect the lives of family members."
A non-sympathetic manager, Hammer said, "will be totally inconsiderate in the face of the non-labor needs of its employees."
"Sometimes, bad bosses present the schedules at the last minute, so that people who have family responsibilities or not related to work have to readjust all their non-work lives to fit their work schedules," he said. "When supervisors do not really allow control over time and work, that leads to high levels of stress."
Hammer and his colleague Ellen Kossek of Michigan State University train supervisors to give more support to families, and are completing large-scale research on the effects of training.
"In the first place, the training focuses on providing emotional support," Hammer said. "To teach supervisors [that] just listen to employees, pay attention to them and show that they care is incredibly useful, it's not quantum physics, but we find that many supervisors do not."