Current Research

New Projects:

Searching for Jobs as a Work-Linked Couple

Searching for a job is often thought of as an individual task in which people set employment goals that guide their application and employment process. Yet for many, employment decisions are actually family decisions. This especially the case for work-linked couples, in which two romantic partners share the same job or occupation. This project seeks to understand how academic couples set and work towards job search goals in tandem over time, as well as the consequences of dual-hire arrangements (or lack thereof) for couple career, family, and wellbeing.

 

Impact of Abortion Policies and Practices on Workers

On June 24, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States of America overturned 50 years of judicial precedent and found there was no constitutional protection for the ability to have an abortion (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization). In doing so, the Court enabled state laws across the country limiting or banning abortion to go into effect overnight. In response, organizations across sectors of the economy announced benefits that would cover costs for their employees to travel and access abortion care in other states. The driving question of this research is to what degree does access to abortion care – facilitated by state law, organizational policy, and/or supervisor support – alter employees’ work and personal outcomes.

 

How do the at-work breaks we take affect off-work recovery experiences?

Microbreaks are the 5-10 minute breaks we take during the work day, to do things like stretch, grab coffee, or chat with a coworker. Though there is much research on our break time after work, little research has been done on how our at-work breaks (like microbreaks) may affect the way we use our off-work time. This project will also explore how family demands may affect these relationships between at-work and off-work recovery from stress.

 

Faculty time allocation customization and work-family balance

Many academics are leaving higher education to pursue careers in other industries. One reason for this career switch is the academic workload. Faculty must allocate their time across research, teaching, and service while simultaneously fulfilling nonwork-related responsibilities. This project explores the relationship between time allocation customization and work-family balance. Specifically, how poor work-family balance can prompt faculty to customize their time allocation in order to better fit their personal needs, and how doing so can engender better work-family balance.

 

 

Ongoing Projects:

Fathers’ Work Events Affect Interactions with their Adolescent Children 

This research uses a daily diary approach to investigate how having a bad day at work affects fathers’ interactions with their adolescent children. As fathers experience more negative events at work, they are in a bad mood for the day, and are in turn more likely to get into fights with their children. Negative events also limit time at home, which in turn motivates fathers to spend more time with their adolescent children the following day, especially if mothers are unavailable to help with childcare.  

 

Work Recovery and Resilience

Adapting to adversity in a work setting is crucial to worker wellbeing and work effectiveness. This is possible through recovery, where workers replenish their fatigued minds after work. We are conducting research exploring the relationship between psychological and physical work recovery and how recovery impacts overall work resilience. The study will highlight the complexities between recovery and resilience, while providing information to increase work resilience. 

 

Negative Event Accumulation on Parent and Adolescent Child

Multiple stressful events over time can accumulate, leading to adverse psychological and physical effects on health. We are conducting research looking at the accumulation of negative events at work and home on the regulation of cortisol (a stress-related hormone that indicates physiological health) over the course of four days. Overall we find family members’ stressful events can negatively impact the physiological health of one another over time. Although parents may be able to adapt to their own stressor accumulation, children’s physiological health worsens as their own stressors accumulate.

 

Work stressors and sleep among sole mothers

Single mothers are thought to be vulnerable to the effects of stressors and disrupted sleep. Using a daily diary design, this study seeks to explore the daily effects of work stressors on sleep behavior. By using the challenge-hindrance stressor framework, we will determine how different types of work stressors lead to changes in energy, mood, and sleep. 

 

Self-regulation and transitioning between work and family roles, aka Georgia Tech Commuting Study

Work and family role transitions are thought to be effortful. We are currently running a study to uncover if transitions are effortful due to self-regulation. By studying the commuting experience on a daily basis, we hope to see self-regulation occur around commuting transitions. These findings will highlight the negative impacts of resource depletion, like increased work to family and family to work conflict.

 

How do characteristics of our work guide our health choices?

Our work and workplaces have characteristics that are challenging and stressful, but also helpful and rewarding. We are conducting a comprehensive review and meta-analysis of studies from multiple fields to investigate the relationships between work demands, resources, and health behaviors. These healthy and unhealthy behaviors include things like exercise and alcohol consumption. We intend to determine when and for whom work may lead to positive or negative health choices.

 

How Do Families Experience Occupational Callings?

Many people feel a strong sense of calling towards their work, but what does this mean for relationships at home?  We are conducting a multi-source study to investigate how parents' sense of feeling called towards their work plays off of one another to impact their marital relationships and time together, as well as time spent with their children. 

 

Best Practices Using Archival Data

Secondary data, or archival data, is data that were previously collected by someone who is not the lead researcher. Due to increasing numbers of publicly accessible datasets, researchers and practitioners are becoming more interested in using archival data for their own questions. Archival data is a favorite in our lab to investigate questions over long time spans, using reports from multiple family members, and using objective health indicators that are challenging to collect like cortisol and metabolic risk. In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Houston, we are conducting a review and primary data collection to identify best practices and recommendations for I-O Psychologists interested in enriching their data repertoire through the use of archival data.