This study among 426 Japanese couples working in different occupational sectors tested the hypothesis that perspective taking moderates the crossover of work engagement. More specifically, we predicted that husbands' work engagement would cross over to their wives, particularly when wives scored high on perspective taking (the spontaneous tendency to adopt the psychological perspective of other people). A similar effect was predicted from wives to husbands. In addition, we hypothesized that the crossover effect would be most pronounced when both partners were high in perspective taking (i.e., a 3-way interaction effect). The results of moderated structural equation modeling analyses confirmed the moderating role of perspective taking, but only for women; women who took the perspective of their partner scored higher on engagement with increasing partner engagement. Moreover, the results showed that engagement crossover was strongest when both men and women were high (vs. low) in perspective taking. This 3-way interaction effect was found from husbands to wives, and vice versa. These findings expand the crossover literature by shedding light on the crossover process.

Contagion, Crossover, Empathy, Employee engagement, Perspective taking,
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
Department of Psychology

Bakker, A.B, Shimazu, A, Demerouti, E, Shimada, K, & Kawakami, N. (2011). Crossover of Work Engagement Among Japanese Couples: Perspective Taking by Both Partners. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 16(1), 112–125. doi:10.1037/a0021297