Negative Affectivity, Emotional Distress, and the Cognitive Appraisal of Occupational Stress Academic Article uri icon


  • We tested for mediating effects of trait negative affectivity and trait positive affectivity on the associations between cognitive appraisals of occupational stress and emotional distress among professional journalists and school teachers. According to past research, it was expected that trait negative affectivity (TNA) would mediate the appraisal-distress relation. According to transactional models of adjustment, cognitive appraisals of (a) the degree to which an occupational stressor interfered with cognitive expectations on the job (Elliott and Harkins, 1992), (b) the person′s ability to tolerate the discorrespondence imposed by the stressor (Dawis and Lofquist, 1984), and (c) personal control over the stressor should remain predictive of emotional distress above and beyond the variance attributed to TNA. Results from separate multiple regression analyses indicated that TNA did not completely explain the appraisal-distress relation for either sample. Minimal relations were found for trait positive affectivity with appraisal activity and distress. Appraisals of interference, tolerance, and control were associated with distress, as expected. Our findings indicate cognitive processes and TNA both contribute to the negative emotional reactions to occupational stress. Pertinent implications for theoretical models of stress appraisal, coping, and work adjustment are discussed. © 1994 Academic Press, Inc.

author list (cited authors)

  • Elliott, T. R., Chartrand, J. M., & Harkins, S. W.

citation count

  • 39

publication date

  • October 1994