Workplace surface acting and marital partner discontent: Anxiety and exhaustion spillover mechanisms

Morgan A. Krannitz, Alicia A. Grandey, Songqi Liu, David A. Almeida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Surface acting (i.e., faking and suppressing emotions at work) is repeatedly linked to employee negative moods and emotional exhaustion, but the consequences may also go beyond work boundaries. We provide a unique theoretical integration of these 2 emotional labor consequences with 2 work-to-family conflict mechanisms, mood spillover and resource drain, to explain why surface acting is likely to create marital partner discontent (i.e., partner's perceived work-to-family conflict and desire for the employee to quit). A survey of 197 hotel managers and their marital partners supported that managers' surface acting was directly related to their partner wanting them to quit, and indirectly to partner's perception of work-to-family conflict via exhaustion consistent with the resource drain mechanism. Anxiety from surface acting had an indirect mediating effect on marital partner discontent through exhaustion. Importantly, controlling for dispositional negativity and job demands did not weaken these effects. Implications for theory and future research integrating work-family and emotional labor are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-325
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of occupational health psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 23 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Workplace surface acting and marital partner discontent: Anxiety and exhaustion spillover mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this