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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

Home Life Plays Big Role in Work Stress

Home Life Plays Big Role in Work Stress
Credit: Hasloo Production/Shutterstock

Having to meet tough deadlines, dealing with demanding bosses and annoying colleagues, and having too much on your plate at one time aren't the only factors that lead to job burnout. Not having someone to come home to at night also plays a role, a new study suggests.

When it comes to mental health in the workplace, having an understanding spouse at home is just as important as having a supportive boss, according to research from Concordia University and the University of Montreal.

Mental health in the workplace doesn't exist in a vacuum and is deeply affected by the rest of an employee's day-to-day life, and vice versa, researchers said.

"To maintain a truly healthy workforce, we need to look outside the office or home in simple terms to combat mental health issues in the workplace," Alain Marchand, the study's lead author and a professor at the University of Montreal's School of Industrial Relations, said in a statement.

As part of the study, researchers polled 1,954 employees from 63 different organizations. They measured such factors as parental status, household income, social network, gender, age, physical health and levels of self-esteem. They then studied those elements alongside stressors typically seen in the workplace, such as emotional exhaustion, poor use of skills, high psychological demands, job insecurity and lack of authority. [Most Trusted Advisor: CEOs Choose Spouses ]

The study's authors found that people experienced fewer mental health problems when they were living with a partner, in households with young children, or had higher household incomes, less work-family conflicts and greater access to the support of a social network outside the workplace.

That's not to say that factors within the workplace don't play a role. Researchers discovered that fewer mental health problems are reported when employees are supported at work, when expectations of job recognition are met and when people feel secure in their jobs.

Additionally, a higher level of skill use is also associated with lower levels of depression. This points to the importance of designing tasks that motivate and challenge workers, according to the study's authors.

The study's results show that researchers need to expand their perspective so that they get a full picture of the complexity of factors that determine employees' mental health, said Steve Harvey, one of the study's authors and a professor of management and dean of Concordia's John Molson School of Business.

The research was recently published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.

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