Intolerance of Uncertainty and Fear of COVID-19 Moderating Role in Relationship Between Job Insecurity and Work-Related Distress in the Republic of Serbia.Front Psychol. 2021; 12:647972.FP
The COVID-19 outbreak in Serbia was followed by strict restrictions that negatively affected the economy, particularly small size companies. The complete lockdown and the prohibition of certain services have led to an unstable employment situation. Only several studies investigated the job insecurity and its consequences during COVID-19 pandemic, and some of them highlight the fear of COVID-19 as a significant moderator of mental health. Other studies emphasize the huge effect that intolerance of uncertainty could have in explaining distress, especially during pandemic. In addition, intolerance of uncertainty was considered as a possible moderator of the relationship between the objective and subjective job threat, as well their consequences for mental health. This study aimed to examine the presence of job insecurity and work related distress in Serbia during the first wave of COVID-19. We wanted to measure the effect of the job insecurity on experienced work distress, as well the moderation potential of the intolerance of uncertainty as an individual-level and the fear of coronavirus as a situation-dependent variable. Five hundred and twenty five employed participants took part in an online study during the first wave of coronavirus infection in Serbia. To measure job insecurity, we used Perception of job insecurity scale (PJIS), while distress was assessed with Distress scale from 4DSQ. Fear of COVID-19 was measured on three items. The intolerance of uncertainty was measured by the IUS-11 scale. The results showed that 30.4% of the participants consider their employment as moderately or highly insecure, and 15.1% thought they can lose their jobs. 63.4% of participants expressed increased levels of distress. The moderation analysis revealed that the effect of job insecurity on distress can be moderated by interaction of intolerance of uncertainty and COVID-related fear. In general, distress scores were increasing with increasing job insecurity, intolerance of uncertainty and fear of COVID-19. This pattern is not observed only when fear and intolerance of uncertainty were both low, when job instability could not influence distress. This study also showed that emotional appraisal of the job threat had higher impact on distress than the perceived threat, that shed the light on the importance of considering general resilience capabilities as a protective factor in the work environment in the time of crisis.