Social Support Buffering During a Traumatic Extraorganizational Stressor: The Relationship Between Supervisor Support, COVID-19 Related Fear, and Mental Health

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Title: Social Support Buffering During a Traumatic Extraorganizational Stressor: The Relationship Between Supervisor Support, COVID-19 Related Fear, and Mental Health
Authors: MacLeod, Roderick
Date: 2022-08-05
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on the personal and professional lives of employees globally. Using extant literature on large-scale traumatic events and extraorganizational stressors as a foundation, this thesis explores the effect of supervisor support on the relationship between COVID-19 related fear and diminished employee mental health. Informed by the Social Support Buffering Hypothesis (Cohen & Wills, 1985) and the Transactional Theory of Stress and Coping (Lazarus, 1990), and using time-lagged online questionnaire data from 2057 employees residing in Canada and the United States, this study finds a significant positive relationship between COVID-19 fear and poor mental health, such that higher COVID-19 fear was associated with poorer mental health. Results do not support the hypothesized buffering effect of supervisor support on the relationship between fear and poor mental health within the entire sample; however, further (post-hoc) analysis revealed disparate impacts of supervisor support on this relationship according to country of residence. Supervisor support significantly buffered the relationship between fear and poor mental health in the American but not Canadian sample, such that high levels of supervisor support attenuated the relationship between fear and poor mental health. These results have the potential to contribute to the leadership and mental health literature, inform future organizational preparedness, and suggest new, boundary spanning, areas of inquiry for management research.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/43880
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-28093
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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