How do employees appraise challenge and hindrance stressors? Uncovering the double-edged effect of conscientiousness.J Occup Health Psychol. 2021 Jun; 26(3):243-257.JO
The challenge-hindrance model deems primary appraisal the central mechanism underlying the effects of challenge and hindrance stressors on employee outcomes. However, the literature has reported conflicting findings on the relationships between challenge/hindrance stressors and challenge/hindrance appraisals. Drawing upon transactional theory (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984), the current study aims to address these conflicting findings by investigating the moderating effect of conscientiousness on stressor-appraisal relationships. On this basis, we further demonstrate when challenge and hindrance appraisals mediate the effects of challenge and hindrance stressors on work motivation (i.e., work engagement) and job strain (i.e., job-related anxiety). We conducted two substudies to examine the research model at the between-person level (Study 1) and the within-person level (Study 2). The results of both studies were highly convergent. Challenge stressors were more positively related to both challenge and hindrance appraisals for employees high in conscientiousness. Hindrance stressors were also more positively related to hindrance appraisal for employees high in conscientiousness. By exacerbating the stressor-appraisal relationships, conscientiousness was found to strengthen the indirect relationship of challenge stressors with work engagement via challenge appraisal and the indirect relationships of challenge and hindrance stressors with job-related anxiety via hindrance appraisal. We conclude that conscientiousness functions as a double-edged sword in the process of making primary appraisals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).