MONDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) - Rudeness among co-workers can have negative effects that extend well beyond the workplace, a new study shows.
Researchers from Baylor University found people who endure incivility at work often take that stress home with them, which can have negative effects on their family and marriages -- and even their spouses' jobs.
The researchers explained that when employees go home stressed and distracted, their partners must often pick up the slack and assume more family responsibilities. These greater demands at home may interfere with their performance at work.
"This research underlines the importance of stopping incivility before it starts so that the ripple effect of incivility does not impact the employee's family," said study author Merideth Ferguson, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship at the Baylor University Hankamer School of Business in a university news release. Otherwise, she said, the toxic atmosphere at work may potentially "inflict further damage beyond the workplace...and cross over into the workplace of the partner."
In surveying 190 full-time workers and their partners, the researchers also found that stress took a toll on the workers' marriages. Complicating matters, they noted that 75 percent of these couples had children living in their household.
The study's authors argued that organizations must address the far-reaching and detrimental effects that ugly behavior in the workplace can have among employees and their families.
Encouraging workers to seek support through their organization's employee assistance program, counseling or stress management resources may help workers cope with rude coworkers, researchers said.
The study was published online in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.
The National Institutes of Health provides more information on stress and anxiety.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
SOURCE: Baylor University, news release, August 2011
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