"Research shows employees who are mistreated at work are likely to engage in similar behaviours at home," said one of the researchers Shannon Taylor from University of Central Florida in the US.
"If they've been belittled or insulted by a supervisor, they tend to vent their frustration on members of their household. Our study shows that happens because they're too tired to regulate their behaviour," Taylor noted.
The findings, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, showed that sleep and exercise are intervention points that can be leveraged to prevent the spread of harmful behaviour.
Study participants included 118 MBA students with full-time jobs who took a survey and then wore activity monitors for a week.
A follow-up survey was then sent to the participants' cohabitants.
Tracking participants' sleep patterns and daytime physical movements, the researchers found that employees who recorded an average of more than 10,900 steps each day were less likely to perpetuate abuse at home than those recording fewer than 7,000.
"The study gives us a new perspective on the importance of getting an adequate amount of sleep and exercise. It's not just good for you, it's good for your spouse, too," Taylor said.