It's bad enough that our work lives are expanding at the cost of our leisure. Now comes word that that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ways work stresses our private lives.
It's not just the amount of work we have, it's the psychological characteristics of our jobs that are especially troublesome. For one, they can subvert our marriages. Notably, having a psychologically demanding job, one marked by high pressure and a boss who provides no support, makes itself felt in marital tension, a trio of New York researchers reports in the Journal of Marriage and the Family (Vol. 54, No. 1). Workers in such jobs have more marital arguments about a wide range of topics, from finances to how to spend their leisure.
Job-generated pressure prevents workers from meeting family demands and creates a negative mood that spills over into home life. According to Diane Hughes, of New York University, and colleagues, negative moods generated on the job make workers psychologically unavailable at home—preoccupied with work, fatigued, and irritable. Thinking about work, they are not able to pay attention to their spouse.