Original Research

The moderating role of personality in the job strain process: A latent interaction approach

Jurgen R. Becker, Anne Buckett, Jerome Rossier, Christina Györkös, Koorosh Massoudi, Deon De Bruin
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 50 | a2040 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v50i0.2040 | © 2024 Jurgen Reiner Becker, Anne Buckett, Jerome Rossier, Christina Györkös, Koorosh Massoudi, Deon de Bruin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 2022 | Published: 19 April 2024

About the author(s)

Jurgen R. Becker, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa
Anne Buckett, Precision ACS, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jerome Rossier, Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Christina Györkös, Institute of Social Sciences, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Koorosh Massoudi, Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Deon De Bruin, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Most stress models emphasise the impact of adverse work conditions on psychological strain. Despite considerable support for these additive models, the role of personal characteristics moderating the stress–strain sequence is under-researched.

Research purpose: The study investigated the indirect and curvilinear effects of personal resources on the stress–strain sequence.

Motivation for the study: Personal agency may play an important role in changing work conditions, through job crafting and other pro-active work activities. This study’s results may enhance popular work strain models through the incorporation of personal characteristics

Research approach/design, and method: The study made use of a cross-sectional and ex post facto research design and convenience sampling of 879 South African employees across various industries and job levels. The data were collected through a quantitative survey and analysed using latent interaction analysis.

Main findings: Broad support was found for the buffering role of sense of coherence on the relationship between job demands and cynicism, and between job demands and exhaustion.

Practical/managerial implications: The results suggest that the existence of resource-rich environments alone may not be enough to guarantee thriving and engaged employees. The motivating potential of resources is enhanced when employees experience a certain degree of challenge in their work.

Contribution/value-add: The study makes a theoretical contribution by highlighting the importance of personality traits as buffers in the stress–strain sequence. Moreover, latent interaction analysis is seldom used in structural equation modelling, despite holding numerous benefits compared to moderated regression analysis.


Keywords

stress; job demands; work engagement; sense of coherence; personality; conscientiousness; moderators; curvilinear effects

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