Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


An Affective Events Theory Perspective on Mental Health in the Workplace Public Deposited
  • Unlike their counterparts in public health, management scientists have devoted relatively little attention to understanding clinical emotions at work, particularly anxiety and depression. Based upon affective events theory, this dissertation argues that negative workplace events can trigger these clinical states, but this is most likely among individuals with a strong predisposition toward anxiety and depression. In two essays, I report the results of four experience sampling studies supporting these theoretical contentions. In Essay 1, I first validate a method to capture the “in situ” experiences of anxious and depressive states across two experience sampling methodology samples of college undergraduates. Stressful events created clinical state-levels of anxiety and depression, though mostly among those with high trait anxiety and depression. Next, I replicate and extend these findings among a sample of workers, observing also that negative events indirectly affect work goal progress, self-efficacy, and job satisfaction through anxiety and depression. In Essay 2, I extend the findings of the studies in Essay 1 to include a tragic event experienced vicariously at work. I report a natural experiment in which we found that a murder-suicide between colleagues increased anxious and depressive states among coworkers, even though participants did not witness the event firsthand. This relationship was strongest among employees with high trait anxiety. Increased state anxiety and state depression, in turn, were associated with reduced work goal progress. Results are discussed in terms of the challenges facing organizations, as well as the need for more research to determine effective interventions.

Date Issued
  • 2021-06-24
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Last Modified
  • 2022-12-13
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