Half of Americans Bring Work Home

working mom. (Image credit: Stockxpert.)

Nearly half of U.S. adults bring their work home and many say work interferes with family life, a new survey finds.

The survey of 1,800 American workers finds work interferes with family, social or leisure life at least sometimes for almost 50 percent of the participants.

The worst at this are professionals, the rich, and the highly educated.

"People who are well-educated, professionals and those with job-related resources report that their work interferes with their personal lives more frequently, reflecting what we refer to as 'the stress of higher status,'" said lead researcher Scott Schieman, a sociology professor at the University of Toronto. "While many benefits undoubtedly accrue to those in higher status positions and conditions, a downside is the greater likelihood of work interfering with personal life."

Among the findings:

  • People with college or postgraduate degrees tend to report their work interferes with their personal life more than those with a high school degree.
  • Professionals tend to report their work interferes with their home life more than all other workers.
  • Working long hours (50-plus per week) is associated with more work interference at home; and the more control people have over the timing of their work, the more likely they are to find it disrupts home life.

Among the job-related demands that led to work seeping into the home life: interpersonal conflict at work, job insecurity, noxious environments, and high-pressure situations. Some factors also predicted more infringement of work on family life, including: job authority, job skill level, decision-making latitude, and personal earnings.

The results, announced this week, were detailed in the December 2009 issue of the journal American Sociological Review.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.