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Title:Anxiety, anger, guilt, and resentment in the workplace: A test of alternative paradigms for stress research
Author(s):Mustari, Elisa Louise
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Clore, Gerald L.; Rowland, Kendrith
Department / Program:Business Administration
Discipline:Business Administration
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Business Administration, General
Psychology, General
Psychology, Industrial
Abstract:Since coping is intended to minimize stress, effective coping must act on the variables that elicit and intensify stress. This study tested potential intensity variables from two theories, each of which is associated with a different paradigm.
Beehr and Bhagat's (1985) theory states that stress is a function of perceptions of the importance and uncertainty of situational outcomes and the duration of uncertainty. Their theory is representative of the dominant paradigm for studying episodic stress and coping, which presumes that one set of variables intensifies all stress.
Ortony, Clore, and Collins' (1988) cognitive theory of emotions implies that a different paradigm would be preferable. Their theory categorizes feelings into 22 Emotion Types, each of which has a unique set of intensity variables. Each set is a syndrome of cognitions (interpretations, evaluations, etc.). Thus, both their theory and that of Beehr and Bhagat are concerned with the cognitive bases of emotional reactions. But, because not all feelings commonly considered stressful belong to the same Emotion Type, Ortony et al.'s theory implies that more of the variance in the intensity of stress could be explained by taking into account the intensity variables associated with the predominant Emotion Type experienced.
This study tested that implication with respect to employees' reactions to stressful job situations that elicited feelings belonging to the Shame (guilt, embarrassment, etc.), Anger, Resentment, or Fear Emotion Types.
Not only did Ortony et al.'s variables always explain a significant increment in the variance in the intensity of stress, but Beehr and Bhagat's variables failed to explain significantly any of the variance when the predominant Emotion Type was Resentment. The uncertainty of outcomes was never a significant predictor, and the duration of uncertainty was significant only in Anger-eliciting situations. The importance of potential outcomes was significant in Anger-, Fear-, and Shame-eliciting situations. However, its measure was also among Ortony et al.'s intensity variables of Anger and Fear.
Results suggest that researchers of stress and coping might do better if they categorized experiences according to the predominant Emotion Type involved, rather than continue trying to generalize across all stressful experiences.
Issue Date:1992
Rights Information:Copyright 1992 Mustari, Elisa Louise
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9305628
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9305628

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