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The role of emotional regulation in the relationship between abusive supervision and outcomes

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Kuhns, Ashley S.
Adams, Gary
Apr 10, 2009
Interpersonal conflict; Emotions, Social aspects; Self-control; Workplace stress; Emotions
Occupational stress is a significant workplace health hazard. There are a variety of workplace factors, called stressors, which lead to negative outcomes for both individuals as well as organizations. Interpersonal conflict is one such stressor and stems from sources such as supervisor, coworker and customer interactions. Interpersonal conflict is related to a variety of negative strains such as lower physical and psychological wellbeing, job dissatisfaction, turnover and depression. Research has shown that interpersonal conflict leads to negative outcomes as well as a variety of emotions. Social interactions may induce an emotional response that requires the individual to engage in emotional regulation to manage those emotions. Some have argued that engaging in emotional regulation plays a role in the relationship between interpersonal conflict and outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the role of emotional regulation as it applies to abusive supervision and the resulting outcomes. More specifically, the goal was to empirically test whether engaging in emotional regulation mediates the relationship between abusive supervision and outcomes. Data was collected through an anonymous on-line survey instrument to employees of an international, full-service engineering firm. The results supported past research and theorizing in that abusive supervision was related to all three outcome variables (wellbeing, turnover intentions and emotional exhaustion). The results also showed support for the mediating role of emotional regulation with the wellbeing and emotional exhaustion outcome variables when individuals engaged in emotional suppression, but not when individuals engaged in emotional reappraisal.
A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science-Psychology - Industrial/Organizational) --University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2008
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