Trait self-control moderates the effect of task control on strain and performance: The mediating role of task self-regulation difficulty

Zhang, Michelle (Wenjin) (2015). Trait self-control moderates the effect of task control on strain and performance: The mediating role of task self-regulation difficulty Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Zhang, Michelle (Wenjin)
Thesis Title Trait self-control moderates the effect of task control on strain and performance: The mediating role of task self-regulation difficulty
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Stacey Parker
Total pages 82
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
High job demands (i.e., workload, time pressure) can be detrimental to employee strain and workplace performance. Theories of occupational stress (e.g., Karasek’s job demand control model) have been developed which highlight the role of job control as a buffer against the negative effects of job demands. However, past research has largely produced mixed findings for the stress-buffering effects of control. This thesis investigated whether trait self-control moderates the effect of task control on strain and performance, and whether this relationship is mediated by task self-regulation difficulty. It was predicted that individuals high in trait self-control would experience less strain and perform better under high task control (as opposed to low task control) because it reduces their difficulty to selfregulate in the heat-of-the-moment. Conversely, high task control (as opposed to low task control) was predicted to increase strain and reduce performance for low self-control individuals as it increases task self-regulation difficulty. Ninety-seven students from The University of Queensland first completed an online survey which assessed demographics and trait self-control, and in a separate session completed a demanding emailing task in a simulated workplace. Strain (i.e., anxiety, fatigue and cortisol) and performance (i.e., number of emails completed and average quality of emails) were used as dependent measures. Contrary to predictions, high control did not attenuate strain or increase performance for those with high trait self-control, with the exception of reducing duringtask fatigue. However, high control did exacerbate strain and lower performance for low trait self-control participants both directly on during-task fatigue and the number of emails completed, and indirectly through task self-regulation difficulty on during-task anxiety, fatigue, as well as the average quality of emails. These results are explained, along with their theoretical and practical implications. Directions for future research are also provided which may help to extend findings from the current research.
Keyword Trait
Self-control
Strain
Performance

 
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Created: Thu, 24 Mar 2016, 15:22:29 EST by Lisa Perry on behalf of School of Psychology