The cost of being ignored: Emotional exhaustion in the work and family domains

Merideth J Thompson, Dawn S Carlson, K Michele Kacmar, Ryan M Vogel
Journal of Applied Psychology 2020, 105 (2): 186-195
Building on the work-home resources model and crossover theory, we investigated how workplace ostracism both spills over and crosses over to emotional exhaustion for both the ostracism target and his or her spouse. We examine whether this occurs through the linking mechanisms of personal resources, specifically the target's positive mood and psychological distress. We draw on the work-home resources model and crossover theory to explain how being ostracized at work is damaging to the target of that ostracism and has implications for the target's life outside of work as well as for his or her spouse. Using longitudinal data from 3 separate points in time with a sample of 350 matched targets and their spouses, we examined how workplace ostracism flowed through positive mood and psychological distress to impact the target's job and family emotional exhaustion. Decreases in positive mood explained why workplace ostracism affected job emotional exhaustion, whereas increased psychological distress explained its crossover effect on family emotional exhaustion. Further, a crossover effect existed on spouses' family emotional exhaustion, and was explained by the target's increased psychological distress and family undermining behavior. Implications for research and practice are provided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

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