Health tips — January/February 2015

How stress can affect relationships — and vice versa.

Treat your staff well

A Norwegian study of nearly 3,000 business managers found that bosses who report having a good relationship with their employees experience significantly less work-related stress. Astrid Richardsen, coresearcher of the BI Norwegian Business School study, suggests that staff members who are pleased with the performance of their manager will help him or her problem solve and address workplace challenges, thereby lessening the manager’s stress load. Similarly, a manager who trusts an employee will delegate more tasks. "The best thing a manager can do to prevent work stress is to develop good relationships with employees," she says.

How stress hurts couples

A study published in the Journal of Social Psychology is the first to show a causal link between stress and specific negative relationship behaviours. Researchers from the psychology department at Monmouth University in New Jersey assigned participants to either a high- or low-stress activity. Those who experienced high stress later gave their partners 15% fewer compliments and were more likely to want to interact with a greater number of alternative partners in a followup task than those who experienced minimal stress.