Office giving you trouble? Study says your mother is to be blamed

  • IANS, New York
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2016 16:19 IST
Psychoanalysts say that the way parents treat their children could have long-term implications for how their children approach relationships, even at their workplaces. (Shutterstock)

If you are having problems at work then there is a likelihood that your parents might be responsible to some extent for your troubles, a new research has startlingly revealed.

According to the study published in the journal Human Relations, the researchers studied manager-employee relationships in the workplace and found a link between parenting styles and workplace behaviours. “It seems cliché, but, once again, we end up blaming mom for everything in life. It really is about both parents, but because mothers are typically the primary caregivers of the children, they usually have more influence on their children,” said Peter Harms, Researcher, University of Alabama.

A mother or father figure later in life can provide that needed love and support, even in the context of the workplace, suggested the study.

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The research was based on the work of John Bowlby, an early psychoanalyst, who argued that the way parents treat their offspring could have long-term implications for how their children approach relationships. Babies learn over time that when they feel abandoned or threatened they can either count on their parent to come to their rescue right away or they need to escalate to high levels of distress in order to get attention.

Individuals with reliable parents view others as potential sources of support. Those individuals with unreliable parents tend not to see them as sources of support. These people are often categorised as having anxious or avoidant attachment depending on the style they adopted to cope with distress.

Individuals with reliable parents view others as potential sources of support, suggests the study. (Shutterstock)

“Essentially, we figured that bosses would matter less to individuals with secure or avoidant attachment styles. Avoidant individuals just simply don’t care. It was the anxiously attached individuals we were most interested in,” added Harns.

The researchers speculated that individuals may transfer this pattern of thinking into the workplace and in particular that it may influence one’s relationship with one’s boss. The research also finds that the way bosses treated their subordinates impacted some, but not all, employees.

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The study showed that when anxious followers were paired with supportive leaders, they were perfectly fine. But when they were paired with distant, unsupportive leaders, the anxiously attached employees reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of performance.

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