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Workplace romancers take more risks

11 January 2018

People who have had romantic relationships with colleagues at work are more likely to consider taking risks with their health and social lives in general.

That is the key finding of research conducted by Dr David Biggs from the University of Gloucestershire which is being presented today, Thursday 11 January, at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology’s annual conference.

A sample of 315 individuals completed an online questionnaire which included questions on their attitudes to risk and sexual sensation seeking behaviour.

This included the participants rating their likelihood to engage in a number of risky activities on a scale of one to seven. They were given scenarios that ranged from “driving a car without wearing a seatbelt” to “having an affair with a married man or woman.”

The researchers found that those participants who rated themselves as more likely to take risks with their health and in social situations were more likely to have had romantic relationships with colleagues from their workplace. 

Those that reported higher levels of sexual sensation seeking behaviour were also more likely to have had a workplace romance.

David Biggs said:

“Romantic relationships between work colleagues can have a positive and negative impact on employees and organisations.

“The positives come from behaving in an appropriate manner about romantic relationships if they occur, but if it is not handled correctly then it could lead to litigation and claims of sexual harassment.

“Our research adds to a growing body of literature on workplaces romances that can lead to an adult discussion on how to manage this sensibly in the workplace.”

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