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Supportive supervisor training improves family relationships among employee and spouse dyads

APA Citation:

Brady, J. M., Hammer, L. B., Mohr, C. D., & Bodner, T. E. (2020). Supportive supervisor training improves family relationships among employee and spouse dyads. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 26(1), 31-48. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000264

Abstract Created by REACH:

Supportive supervisor training is designed to help supervisors meet work-related and nonwork-related needs of employees. This longitudinal randomized controlled trial evaluated the effectiveness of a supportive supervisor training specifically tailored to also equip supervisors with military cultural competence. Supervisors across 16 organizations were randomly assigned to the treatment group (i.e., received training), whereas supervisors across 19 organizations were randomly assigned to the control group (i.e., had yet to receive training). Using a sample of 250 Veteran employees and their partners, this study examined the extent to which supervisor training was associated with improvements in marital quality and positive parenting at baseline, three- and nine-month follow-ups. Further, this study examined Veteran employees’ stress as a potential factor that may alter the associations between supervisor training, marital satisfaction, and positive parenting. Results suggest that a military-tailored supportive supervisor training program can improve Veteran family outcomes, particularly for those who are under higher stress.


Physical health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:

Spouse of service member or veteran


Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Longitudinal Study
Quantitative Study


Brady, Jacquelyn M., Hammer, Leslie B., Mohr, Cynthia D., Bodner, Todd E.


Employee family relationships have been increasingly tied to job outcomes and are known to be a strong predictor of employee health and well-being. As such, taking steps toward uncovering actionable tools organizations can implement to foster improvements in family relationship quality is important and should not be overlooked in occupational health psychology interventions. Supportive supervisor training (SST) targets improving employees’ ability to meet their nonwork needs; however, the focus and discussions of the implications tied to SST have largely excluded marital and parent–child relationships, spouses, and spousal outcomes. Further, mounting evidence suggests contextual factors shape when SST is most meaningful; however, more research is needed to uncover individual-level factors that may facilitate training effects. This study used a cluster-randomized controlled trial design to evaluate a worksite-based SST with a sample of 250 employees (separated military veterans) and their matched spouses. Using an intent-to-treat approach and 2-level random effects models, results demonstrated that the SST promoted couples’ dyadic marital relationship quality 9 months following baseline. Additionally, when employees were under higher levels of baseline stress, couples’ dyadic marital relationship quality and positive parenting both improved following the SST. Thus, an SST is beneficial for family relationships as reported by both employees and spouses, which goes beyond previously demonstrated employee health and well-being benefits. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Educational Publishing Foundation

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, San José State University, JMB
Department of Psychology, Portland State University, LBH
Department of Psychology, Portland State University, CDM
Department of Psychology, Portland State University, TEB


dyads, family relations, management training, marital relations, military veterans, occupational stress, supervisor employee interaction, well being, workplace intervention

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


Sponsor: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, US; Grant Number: W81XWH13-2-0020; Other Details: States Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRMC) Broad Agency Announcement
Sponsor: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US; Grant Number: T03OH008435; Other Details: Portland State University
Sponsor: Oregon Health & Science University, Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences, US; Grant Number: ORS 656.630; Other Details: Division of Consumer and Business Services of the State of Oregon

REACH Newsletter:

  March 2021

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