Workplace Gossip Reduces Life Satisfaction

Often a daily occurrence, workplace gossip can take a harmful toll on targeted colleagues. While research has explored gossip’s impact on career advancement, its effect on personal wellbeing outside of work remains understudied. To address this gap, researchers in this study (Xie et al., 2024) examined the link between gossip and life satisfaction by exploring two factors that might influence this connection: psychological detachment from work and family supportive supervisor behavior.


The researchers conducted a three-wave survey across five organizations and discovered a troubling link between negative gossip and employee wellbeing. Namely, employees who were targeted by gossip had difficulty mentally detaching from work, which significantly impacted their overall life satisfaction. However, the study also found that when supervisors consistently demonstrated support for employees, the negative impacts of gossip lessened. In other words, a supportive supervisor can equip employees to better manage workplace negativity, allowing them to disconnect from work when at home and ultimately achieve greater life satisfaction.


In response to the study findings, the authors recommend that organizations do the following:

  • Establish clear and effective communication channels. This allows employees to voice concerns and suggestions constructively, reducing reliance on gossip.
  • Promote healthy work-life boundaries. Policies and practices that encourage disconnecting after work, such as appropriate work hours and promoting leisure activities, can help employees detach psychologically.
  • Invest in supervisor training that helps leaders be more supportive of their employees. This support may include tending to emotional needs, fostering a healthy work-family balance, or making allowances for employees going through difficult personal situations.


Xie, J., Huang, Q., Yan, M., & Liang, Y. (2024). It is tough to detach from gossip: The impact of perceived negative workplace gossip on life satisfaction. Journal of Business and Psychology, 39(2), 497–511.

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