Forcing A Smile At Work? It Could Make You Drink More.

smiling, drinking, customer service, psychology
By ALT 103.7

YOU GUYS. This is kinda crazy.

I always thought that "my pleasure" really was their pleasure! Now I wonder if some people in customer service are just faking it, and then go home to down a bottle of wine.

Just another reason to get into radio... you can hide! (I'm kidding, if my boss reads this)

So here's the entire breakdown of a study that was conducted to come to the conclusion that people who "fake smile," or "fake happy" at work, typically drink more than those who don't once they get home. 


Grandey, Alicia A.,Frone, Michael R.,Melloy, Robert C.,Sayre, Gordon M.

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

Some employees tend to drink more alcohol than other employees, with costs to personal and organizational well-being.

Based on a self-control framework, we propose that emotional labor with customers—effortfully amplifying, faking, and suppressing emotional expressions (i.e., surface acting)—predicts alcohol consumption, and that this relationship varies depending on job expectations for self-control (i.e., autonomy) and personal self-control traits (i.e., impulsivity).

We test these predictions with data drawn from a national probability sample of U.S. workers, focusing on employees with daily contact with outsiders (N = 1,592). The alcohol outcomes included heavy drinking and drinking after work. Overall, surface acting was robustly related to heavy drinking, even after controlling for demographics, job demands, and negative affectivity, consistent with an explanation of impaired self-control.

Surface acting predicted drinking after work only for employees with low self-control jobs or traits; this effect was exacerbated for those with service encounters (i.e., customers and the public) and buffered for those with service relationships (i.e., patients, students, and clients). We discuss what these results mean for emotional labor and propose directions for helping the large segment of U.S. employees in public facing occupations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)