Colleagues Behaving Badly: Stress of Rude Co-Worker Can Affect Home Life

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"My husband was definitely upset for me," she said. "At the time, we needed my income, so quitting wasn't an option to entertain. I think we did decide together that the best thing was for me to leave as soon as possible."

If it's not possible to get out of a stressful environment, finding a way to unwind after work can also be helpful, such as working out and socializing.

It's also generally acceptable to discuss workplace stress with partners as long as it's not overwhelming for either person.

Experts also say it's important to realize that strong emotions, such as stress, fear and anxiety, may not be solely the result of a difficult work environment.

"It's very important to ask yourself where these emotions are coming from, and be honest about it," Klapow said. "People tend to attribute their emotions to whatever is going on at the moment, and that may be work, but there could also be other things going on."

Ferguson said research looking into the effect of rude co-workers on the family is just beginning. This study only involved 190 subjects and didn't control for certain factors, such as the ones that may affect how stress crosses over from work to family.

"However, these findings emphasize the notion that organizations must realize the far-reaching effects of co-worker incivility and its impact on employees and their families," she said.

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