Looking forward : How anticipated workload change influences the present workload–emotional strain relationship

Journal article


DiStaso, Michael and Shoss, Mindy K.. (2020). Looking forward : How anticipated workload change influences the present workload–emotional strain relationship. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. 25(6), pp. 401-409. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000261
AuthorsDiStaso, Michael and Shoss, Mindy K.
Abstract

Many workers experience ebbs and flows of workload in concert with busy seasons, changing project demands, and changes to the way tasks are completed. The present study examined how anticipating workload changes influences emotional strain resulting from current workload. We extend conservation of resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989) by hypothesizing that anticipated changes in workload may be viewed as a future opportunity to recover from current workload (in the case of anticipated workload decrease) or as a threat of loss of resources (in the case of anticipated workload increase), and that anticipated changes in workload would moderate the current workload–emotional strain relationship. Using a sample of employees engaged in project-based work, we found that anticipation of a workload increase exacerbated the current workload–emotional strain relationship and anticipation of a workload decrease buffered this relationship. The results suggest that stressor–strain relations may be influenced by anticipated change in stressor conditions. In other words, employees are more likely to tolerate stressful circumstances if they see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” Implications for occupational stress research and practice are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

Keywordsanticipated change; emotional strain; future-oriented cognition; workload
Year2020
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Journal citation25 (6), pp. 401-409
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association
ISSN1076-8998
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000261
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85090304424
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range401-409
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online2020
Publication process dates
Accepted14 Jul 2020
Deposited16 Aug 2022
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