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How does going through divorce affect your job performance?

Divorce is one of the most stressful and negative events a person can go through, perhaps second only to the death of a loved one. Surprisingly, a University of Minnesota professor says, there has not been enough research into how going through divorce affects your job performance.

Anecdotally, the professor, who teaches organizational behavior for the U’s Carlson School of Management, has heard of people having trouble concentrating at work, having crying spells and sleeping on the floor of their desks. But a few self-reported stories do not provide much insight into larger trends. Do people going through divorce, or who have just gone through one, tend to have trouble getting back into the flow on the job?

To try to learn more about this, the professor is conducting a survey, according to a column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Volunteers will fill out a survey, then be contacted for follow-up two weeks later, and again in a year. Questions in the survey ask about the participant’s work title, job responsibilities, and how divorce has affected his or her work.

For example, has the participant’s boss been helpful? Has his or her ability to concentrate on work been affected? Other questions delve into more serious problems, like possible lack of sleep or increased drinking.

Without making a clear prediction of the findings she expects, the professor suggested that her personal experience indicates that workplaces do not accommodate employees after divorce as well as they do after a death in the family. She recalled receiving “a ton of support” at work after her mother’s death -- support she did not get during her divorce.

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