Workplace Incivility Ruins my Sleep and Yours: the Costs of Being in a Work-Linked Relationship

Abstract

Workplace incivility (i.e., rudeness and disrespect) is a pervasive problem that impacts a number of important employee workplace outcomes. This study expands past research on outcomes of experienced incivility by proposing a spillover-crossover model in which experienced incivility is associated with negative work rumination outside of work as well as insomnia symptoms (i.e., spillover). We further propose that rumination in one employee is also linked to insomnia symptoms in the employee’s partner (i.e., crossover). The moderating effect of being work-linked (working in the same organization or occupation as one’s partner) was also investigated. We tested the hypothesized Actor-Partner Interdependence Mediation Model in the context of dual-earner couples (N = 305). To test moderation effects, we conducted a multi-group analysis by comparing our hypothesized model across work-linked and non-linked couples. Our results support the spillover effect, suggesting that experienced incivility is linked to employee insomnia symptoms through rumination. However, the crossover effect was only found among work-linked couples. By connecting the sleep and workplace incivility literatures, our findings support a dyadic model in which workplace incivility, as an interpersonal stressor, is linked to employee as well as partner insomnia through negative work rumination. Interventions aimed at alleviating negative work rumination may help reduce work-home spillover as well as crossover, particularly for work-linked, dual-earner couples.

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Fig. 1
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Notes

  1. 1.

    In our sample, 31 couples worked in the same or similar occupation (e.g., school teachers, nurses and medics, IT technicians, engineers, managerial and administrative jobs, pet groomers, etc.) and 10 couples worked for the same organizations (e.g., business owners, and their partners who were co-owners or worked in the same organization; or both partners in the army).

  2. 2.

    In the baseline model, these two partner effects were not significant (aP = −.077, SE = 0.048, t = −1.615, p = .106; cP = .095, SE = 0.063, t = 1.511, p = .131).

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Fritz, C., Park, Y. & Shepherd, B.R. Workplace Incivility Ruins my Sleep and Yours: the Costs of Being in a Work-Linked Relationship. Occup Health Sci 3, 1–21 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41542-018-0030-8

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Keywords

  • Spillover
  • Crossover
  • Incivility
  • Rumination
  • Sleep
  • Work-linked
  • Couples