This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Attachment Styles and Workplace Stressors: An Individual and Contextual Approach to Employee Well-Being and Behavior and the Mediating Role of Surface Acting




Davis, Shelley

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




Workplace stress is a thriving area of research and is a topic of concern to employees and employers, alike. Using a conservation of resources framework, I sought to take an integrative approach to better understand how workplace stress influences employee well-being and work behaviors. In so doing, I investigated the influence of attachment styles and workplace stressors on employees’ emotional exhaustion, feedback inquiry, and interpersonal organizational citizenship behavior (OCB-I). Data were collected through online subordinate and supervisor surveys which resulted in 206 matched supervisor and subordinate pairs. The results offered some support to the hypothesized model. As hypothesized, attachment avoidance and challenge stressors demonstrated positive associations with emotional exhaustion, and attachment avoidance negatively related to feedback inquiry. Further, attachment avoidance positively related to surface acting, and surface acting positively related to emotional exhaustion. Surface acting mediated the association between attachment avoidance and feedback inquiry. However, the relation between surface acting and feedback inquiry was positive instead of the expected negative relation. Findings are discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.