The transference of emotion between work and family




Luff, Leslie Scott

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Work and family are the two areas that many individuals report being most important to them and conflict between the two areas impacts the individual as well as others in the family domain and in the work domain. This qualitative study examined the individual's experiences in the work and family domains and how these experiences are emotionally transferred to the other domain. The impact of that transference to other individuals in those domains as well as gender differences in these processes were examined.

Six women participants and six men participants were interviewed with the responses of those participants being the data from which the results were derived. These responses indicated that the participants felt that the effects of work were transferred more readily to the family environment than the effects of the family were transferred to the work environment, and that negative affect was transferred overwhelmingly more than was positive affect in both directions. Positive effects were transferred from the family to work slightly greater number than positive effects were transferred from work to the family. Negative effects were more easily transferred in both directions, more negatives flowed from work to the family, and positive effects, when present, were more easily transferred from the family to work.

Participants also described a number of processes used to manage the transfer of emotion between work and family as well as moderators that had an impact on the intensity with which emotions from work or the family were transferred to the other area. Responses indicated that these processes and moderators generally reduced the transference of negative effects into both the family and work. The processes and moderators did not have the same impact on positive effects, as those positive effects were not reported as being reduced in the transference. Men participants reported greater transference of positive effects from the family to work than did women participants, and women participants reported more transference of all effects from work to the family.



Work-family conflict, Psychology, Emotion, Family, Transference