Having an abusive boss is bad enough for one’s work life. A new study from Baylor University suggested that it could also negatively affect one’s marriage.
The researchers asked 280 full-time employees how often their bosses engage in abusive behaviors like putting them down publicly, unjustly taking out anger on them, telling them their feelings are stupid and telling them they are incompetent.
Then, the researchers asked their spouse how often the spouse felt irritated or resentful about things the surveyed employees did or did not do.
By comparing the responses of the employees and their spouses, the researchers found a correlation between having an abusive boss and having more problems in one’s marriage.
The researcher also found that “more children at home meant greater family satisfaction for the employee” and that the longer the marriage was, the less impact the abusive boss had on the marriage.
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, said Merideth Ferguson, PH.D., a study co-author.
The study suggested that subordinate employees should seek help to try to “identify tactics or mechanisms for buffering the effect of abuse on the family.”
Study author Dawn Carlson, Ph.D., also said the study “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.”