Families are feeling the stress of economic crisis, researcher finds

Mar 12, 2009

There is no question that the recent economic crisis has wreaked havoc on companies and on families across the country. Now, a recent study of 300 married, working couples conducted by Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Management at Florida State University's College of Business, is revealing just how deeply the crunch is being felt.

In "The Hits Just Keep Coming: How the is Affecting Families and Work," Hochwarter sought to find out how the is affecting people both at work and in their personal lives. His results show that in the workplace, large numbers of people are feeling more , more pressure from management and more concern about their , and are witnessing more incivility.

Among Hochwarter's findings:

• More than 70 percent of both men and women in the survey confirmed that the recession has significantly increased the stress levels of in recent months.

• More than one-half (55 percent) reported that management has grown increasingly demanding over this period.

• More than 65 percent predicted significant job changes to occur within one year, causing employees to grow progressively more concerned about job status; 80 percent of employees reported being nervous about their long-term financial well-being.

• More than 60 percent were asked to find ways to cut costs on a weekly basis.

• More than 40 percent of employees reported increased incivility (i.e., "backstabbing," "sucking up" and politicking) as a means to stay employed in the event of a layoff.

The study also explored the shifts in home life due to the financial crisis. More than 70 percent of both men and women admitted making significant spending changes, including a decision to limit or eliminate the purchase of items deemed non-essential. More than 80 percent of both men and women also admitted that it was unlikely they would be able to retire when they wanted and with the amount of money anticipated as recently as one year ago.

In the face of record unemployment and layoffs, the study found that many people (42 percent) could maintain their current standard of living for just one month or less, while the majority of those asked (55 percent) reported three months or less. In addition, more than 33 percent of reported discrepancies of greater than six months in perceived standard of living following layoffs, suggesting that husbands and wives are not always on the same page in terms of financial status or long-term economic viability in the event of job loss.

"Scared -- it's the one word I would use to describe the mental status of employees these days," Hochwarter said. "Employees are more stressed and more strained today, and they aren't looking to make a move to improve their situation. The study shows employees have little confidence that the next work situation will be any more secure than the current one.

"The housing market is also playing a big role," he said. "For many, selling a house and its potential to contribute to an already dire financial situation is simply too much at this point."

Hochwarter's research confirms that developing a climate of trust and expanding lines of communication, even when the news is not favorable, may help reduce the anxiety associated with job insecurity.

Hochwarter's research is being prepared for publication.

Source: Florida State University

Explore further: Putting children first, when media sets its own rules

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Higher gas prices leave many workers running on empty

May 11, 2007

Few have been unaffected by the rapidly increasing price of gas, which has inched its way up toward $4 a gallon in some parts of the United States. And consumers aren’t feeling those effects just in their wallets, a Florida ...

Who's afraid of the big bad boss? Plenty of us, study shows

Dec 04, 2006

The abusive boss has been well documented in movies ("Nine to Five"), television (Fox's "My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss") and even the Internet (http://HateBoss.com). Now, a Florida State University professor and two of his doctoral ...

Recommended for you

Putting children first, when media sets its own rules

5 minutes ago

In an age when a significant number of parents won't let their child walk down the street to post a letter because of "stranger danger", it's ironic that many pay little attention while media organisations ...

Self-made billionaires more likely to give than inheritors

1 hour ago

A study by economists at the University of Southampton suggests that billionaires who have built their own fortunes are more likely to pledge to donate a large portion of their wealth to charities, than those who are heirs ...

Recessions result in lower birth rates in the long run

16 hours ago

While it is largely understood that birth rates plummet when unemployment rates soar, the long-term effects have never been clear. Now, new research from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public ...

Human trafficking, an invisible problem

20 hours ago

Human trafficking is a problem about which little is known in Spain, due to both the lack of reliable figures as well as the poor coordination among international police forces and the social permissiveness with regard to ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Paradox
not rated yet Mar 16, 2009
Useless information that we all already know.