• You get me: Examining the implications of couples’ depersonalization agreement for employee recovery

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Abstract

Previous research demonstrates that depersonalization is harmful for employee outcomes. In addition, research is beginning to examine employees’ family context along with their experiences both at work and at home. We advance these literatures using shared reality theory as a foundation for investigating couples’ dyadic agreement surrounding employee depersonalization and its implications. Using polynomial regression and response surface methodology of data from employee‐significant other dyads, in Study 1, we find that agreement between partners on employee depersonalization is associated with lower work‐to‐family conflict (following general shared reality theory arguments) and increased subsequent recovery for the employee. In Study 2, we examine more specific shared reality theory arguments using the same analytic approach. We show that agreement between partners on employee depersonalization is associated with less distress and an increased perception that one’s depersonalization is understood, and ultimately increased recovery for the employee via reductions in distress. Taken together, these results suggest the harmful effects of depersonalization are largely minimized if an employee’s partner accurately recognizes their depersonalization. Interestingly, our collective results show it is better for employees to have agreement with their partners surrounding a high level of employee depersonalization than have low levels of depersonalization accompanied by disagreement.

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