Differential Relations between Challenge and Hindrance Stressors and Work-Related Attitudes: The Mediating Role of Work-Related Affect
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11th EAOHP Conference
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Introduction: Stressors are often classified into those that people usually appraise as promoting personal growth (i.e. challenge stressors, such as workload or job complexity) and those that constrain personal development (i.e. hindrance stressors, such as role ambiguity or red tape). Both types of stressor show positive correlations with psychological strains, but different relationships with work-related attitudes and behaviours: whereas challenge stressors tend to go along with beneficial attitudes and behaviours, the opposite is true for hindrance-related stressors.
Purpose: The aim of the present study is to shed some more light upon the mechanisms associated with challenge and hindrance stressors. More precisely, we investigate whether the differential relationships between challenge and hindrance stressors and work-related attitudes can be explained by differences in underlying emotional processes. Besides the challenge-hindrance-stressor framework, affective events theory and Warr?s model of work-related affective well-being (four distinct aspects: anxiety, comfort, depression, and enthusiasm) serve as a theoretical background.
Results: In line with previous studies, hindrance but not challenge stressors were related negatively to work attitudes. Furthermore, hindrance stressors were associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression, and with lower levels of comfort and enthusiasm. Challenge stressors, however, were only related to higher levels of anxiety and to lower levels of comfort, but did not significantly affect depression or enthusiasm. Comfort as well as depression or enthusiasm partially mediated the relation between hindrance stressors and the work attitudes. Conversely, the only significant indirect effect of the challenge stressor on the work attitudes was via comfort.