Being happily married prevents working men from burnout

MOSCOW, Russia — If you ever feel burnt out from working, you’re definitely not alone. The mental exhaustion can make people feel disconnected from their own bodies, minds, and emotions, and make them feel less fulfilled in life. Now, researchers from the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) say there may be a solution — get married! Their study finds that a happy marriage can help fight off work-related burnout, specifically among men.

“For men, career success can often become a fundamental aspect of their identity and self-esteem. As a result, they may encounter greater pressure in the workplace and experience elevated stress levels while striving to fulfill their duties and meet expectations. In this context, marital satisfaction and feeling supported in one’s private life can become critical factors in preventing burnout among men,” says study author Ilya Bulgakov, a doctoral Student at HSE School of Psychology, in a media release.

The researchers surveyed 203 employees from different Russian companies. The participants were asked to assess their satisfaction with their relationships and the presence of workplace burnout symptoms. They found a strong correlation among men showing that the more marital satisfaction they expressed, the lower their risk of burnout was.

Further, men who were more successful professionally also tended to be more satisfied with their personal relationships, an association that did not appear among women. For women, the results showed that detachment from colleagues and clients and a decrease in empathy and compassion had the greatest impact on burnout.

Happy couple embracing in love, looking lovingly at one another
A happy marriage could be the secret to a happy mind for working men. (© M. Business –

The team believes these findings are a result of varying stereotypes and societal expectations imposed on both men and women. Often times, women find themselves pressured by the amount of emotional support they give to others, whether it be colleagues, clients, or patients. Interestingly, the team found that men are most likely to experience emotional fatigue as a result of being overwhelmed by requests and feeling like they can’t handle them all. This could be related to the social expectation that men act as providers and protectors, which comes with responsibility that can be stressful to carry at times.

“Individuals suffering from workplace burnout syndrome often struggle to disconnect from their work and therefore remain in a constant state of tension. Consequently, personal relationships serve as a means for them to escape the pressures of the career race, providing a source of satisfaction and support. Interestingly, this association has been observed only in men. This can perhaps be attributed to traditional social roles, where men are frequently assigned greater responsibility for attaining career success, leading to higher work-related pressure,” says Bulgakov.

“The phenomenon of professional burnout is multifaceted. The personal relationships of employees, both within and outside the organization, are not only important per se but can also be considered as significant predictors of work-related burnout. The way individuals construct and engage in both professional and personal relationships, their behavior and self-perception within them, may have implications for their professional self-determination and ultimately contribute to the experience of burnout,” concludes Bulgakov.

“Our study brings attention to the importance of conducting further research on burnout, particularly in relation to professional identity and the intricacies of interpersonal interactions in the workplace.”

The findings are published in the journal Organizational Psychology.

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