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Research study sheds new light on marriage

Study by psychology graduate student finds married workers are more satisfied with shift work than single people

04/21/04

A research study by a psychology graduate student found that workers who are married are generally happier on the job than single workers, even if they’re working late night hours. The results refute the popular belief that single employees have more job and life satisfaction than employees who are married.

For her thesis research, Sarah Ipsa spent 15 months surveying 207 shift employees who worked between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. in a bank, manufacturing company or hospital. The study showed that married workers were more satisfied with their work and lives than single workers. It also found that married workers with children had about the same levels of life and job satisfaction as did married workers without children.

"Organizations should at least consider married people with or without children for shift work equally with single people," says assistant professor of psychology Mark Nagy, who is director of the graduate program in industrial/organizational psychology and oversaw the study. "There is a belief that a married person may be better for a day-shift and a single person is better for a night shift. And our study didn’t find that to be true."

Nagy and Ipsa, who graduated in December, presented their findings recently at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology annual conference in Chicago, where more than 3,000 top workplace scientists and practitioners attended and presented research on emerging trends, debates and the way people function in the workplace.

Now, the team is looking forward to printing their findings in workplace journals.

Ipsa’s was one of nine graduate thesis projects conducted last year. For more information on the program or the research, call 513 745-1958.