December 6, 2019 at 9:48 am

Johnson Study Suggests Family Interference Can Be Hazard in High-Risk Industries

Ryan C. Johnson, portrait

Dr. Ryan C. Johnson

Dr. Ryan C. Johnson co-authored Home is where the mind is: Family interference with work and safety performance in two high risk industries in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, positing that family interference with work can be a safety hazard.

Johnson is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ohio University. His co-authors are Erin M. Eatough of BetterUp; Chu-Hsiang Chang of Michigan State University; Leslie B. Hammer of the Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland State University; and Donald M. Truxillo of the University of Limerick.

In their study of family interference with work in two industries, construction and utilities, they found:

  • Family interference with work negatively relates to workplace safety.
  • The linkage operates partially through cognitive and affective pathways.
  • Commitment to safety offers a potential opportunity for intervention.
  • Family interference with work can be conceptualized as a workplace safety hazard.

Abstract: This study examines the process through which family interference with work (FIW) negatively relates to safety performance in two unique samples from high-risk industries. Using a sample from the construction industry, Study 1 finds that FIW is related to employees’ workplace cognitive failures, which in turn, were a significant predictor of safety-related behaviors. Using a sample from a utility company, Study 2 replicates these results and demonstrates that psychological strain further explains the complex relationship between FIW and safety. Furthermore, in Study 2, the mediation pathways linking FIW with safety behaviors were moderated by employees’ commitment to safety. The idea that family life can predict safety in the workplace through interference and distraction is important to the collective effort to protect worker health and critical to effective intervention design.

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