Work Stressors and Partner Social Undermining

In press in: Journal of Occupational Health Psychology 
Work Stressors and Partner Social Undermining: Comparing Negative Affect and Psychological Detachment as Mechanisms
 Laurenz L. Meier and Eunae Cho
With the mounting evidence that employees’ work experiences spill over into the family domain and cross over to family members, it is important to understand the underlying mechanism through which work experiences affect the family domain and what factors may alleviate the adverse impact of work stress. Expanding previous research that mainly focused on the affect-based mechanism (negative affect), the present research investigated a resource-based mechanism (psychological detachment from work) in the relationship linking two work stressors (high workload and workplace incivility) with social undermining toward the partner at home. We also explored the relative strength of the mediating effects of the two mechanisms. In addition, we tested whether relationship satisfaction moderates the proposed effect of detachment on partner undermining. We tested these research questions using two studies with differing designs: a five-wave longitudinal study (N = 470) and a multisource study (N = 131). The results suggest that stressful work experiences affect the family domain via lack of detachment as well as negative affect, that the two pathways have comparable strength, and that high relationship satisfaction mitigates the negative effect of lack of detachment on partner undermining. In sum, this research extends the spillover-crossover model by establishing that poor psychological detachment from work during leisure time is an additional mechanism that links work and family.
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