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Extroverts Balance Work, Family Better

Study finds they make more positive connections between the two

SATURDAY, March 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're an extrovert, you may have the edge over others when it comes to balancing the demands of work and family, says a Wake Forest University study.

Researchers studying the role of personality in work-family experience examined the way an individual's personality traits may cause conflict and how those traits also contribute to positive influence between a person's work and family.

The study found extroverts -- people who are sociable, outgoing and talkative -- experience the most positive connections between their family and work roles. For example, more of the extroverted people taking part in the study reported they're better companions at home after they have a good day at work.

The extroverts in the study also said they felt the things they do at work make them more interesting people to live with at home.

Researchers used a large national sample to examine five key personality factors.

"We know that situational factors, such as hours worked and parental status, influence and how much interference people experience between their work and family lives," researcher Julie Holliday Wayne, an adjunct assistant professor of business at Wake Forest, says in a prepared statement.

"But in this study, after we eliminated these factors, we found that an individual's personality contributed to the degree of conflict and facilitation they experienced," Wayne says.

Conscientiousness was another personality trait related to less conflict between work and family.

People with the neurotic personality trait who regularly experience high levels of anxiety were more likely to experience work-family conflict.

The study was published in the February issue of the Journal of Vocational Behavior.

More information

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America has more about workplace anxiety.

SOURCE: Wake Forest University, news release, February 2004
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