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

  • Charlotte FritzEmail author
  • YoungAh Park
  • Brittnie R. Shepherd
Original Research Article


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.


Spillover Crossover Incivility Rumination Sleep Work-linked Couples 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Portland State UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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