CHANGE TRAJECTORIES OF STRESS AND STRAIN DURING A STRESSFUL EVENT: THE ROLES OF GROUP COHESION AND GROUP MEMBERS’ EMOTIONAL VARIABILITY

Open Access
Author:
Xu, Shi
Graduate Program:
Hospitality Management
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 27, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Hubert Van Hoof, Dissertation Advisor
  • Hubert Van Hoof, Committee Chair
  • Anna Mattila, Committee Member
  • Donna Quadri-Felitti, Committee Member
  • Larry Martinez, Outside Member
  • Alicia Grandey, Outside Member
  • Peter Molenaar, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • stress
  • strain
  • hospitality
  • group cohesion
  • emotional variability
Abstract:
Employee stress is a significant issue in the hospitality industry, and it is costly for both employees and employers. This study examined the impact of a specific event on the change trajectories of stress and strain and how group characteristics can shape those trajectories by means of testing several hypotheses that were derived from the literature on affect, stress and strain. Specifically, informed by affective events theory and the homeostatic model of stress, this study investigated how stress predicts strain outcomes, including the need for recovery, emotional exhaustion, and sleep quality, and the change trajectories of stress and strain during a stressful event. In addition, the boundary conditions of group cohesion and group members’ emotional variability were examined. The study gathered data from 69 student participants in a senior level, food production and service management course that involved a stressful event, the hosting of a “theme dinner” to the general public. Data were collected through an experience sampling methodology and analyzed by means of latent growth curve modeling. In line with affective events theory and the homeostatic model of stress, results showed that stress, need for recovery, and emotional exhaustion all displayed negative quadratic (inverted U-shaped) trajectories, and that sleep quality displayed a positive quadratic (U-shaped) trajectory. Group cohesion lowered the initial level of emotional exhaustion and increased the initial level of sleep quality. Group cohesion also flattened the linear trajectory of sleep quality over time. In addition, individuals working with group members with higher levels of emotional variability not only reported higher initial levels of stress, emotional exhaustion and need for recovery, but also higher systematic changes in their need for recovery and emotional exhaustion during the event. The implications of the findings and directions for future research are presented.