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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Post-Tsunami The Influence of Context on Children's Subjective Wellbeing

Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology
July 2010, Vol.36, No.2, 207-213.

Post-Tsunami: The Influence of Context on Children's Subjective
Silvia Exenberger and Barbara Juen
University of Innsbruck, Austria

This paper presents the first work-package of the project "Post-tsunami" funded by the European Commission. It aims to develop indicators of children's well-being living in the affected areas and focuses on contextual influences on children's well-being. Fifty-six caregivers participated in focus group discussions in order to answer questions regarding their children's well-being. 112 children spoke in same-sex and same-age groups for themselves what makes them feel happy and sad, and what helps them to feel better when they feel unpleasant. On the basis of the qualitative research methodology "Grounded Theory" the transcribed interviews are analysed. The children are single and double orphans, either living with their biological parent or in an out-of-home care organisation providing family based care. Out of caregivers' and children's statements five domains of well-being are distinguished: cognitive, social, psychological, physical and economic. Especially in the social, psychological and economic domains the context plays an important role in determining children's subjective well-being.

Reflections on Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts: Diagnostic Dilemmas and Beyond

Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology
July 2010, Vol.36, No.2, 197-206.

Reflections on Repetitive Intrusive Thoughts: Diagnostic Dilemmas and Beyond
R. Tripathi and S. Mehrotra
National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore

Repetitive thoughts (RTs) are normal phenomena; however, these also form essential features of various psychiatric syndromes. This paper describes two unusual adult cases of repetitive thoughts. Both the cases were characterized by emergence of repetitive images and thoughts that were intrinsically pleasurable and were in consonance with developmental concerns in early adulthood. The RTs were not considered irrational by the individuals. The immediate consequences described were that of pleasure and relief. The RTs acquired an intrusive quality overtime. The increasing frequency of intrusions was accompanied by decreasing sense of control, heightened impairment in overall functioning and distress although the RTs continued to be described as giving pleasure during their occurrence. Despite warranting clinical attention, the presentation of the cases was atypical in various ways and did not adequately match the criteria for any diagnosis. The phenomeno\og'ica\ description highlights the evo\ut\on of repetitive thoughts in terms of qualities such as intrusiveness, ego-syntonicity as well as co-occurrence of positive & negative affective tones. Using existing theoretical frameworks, the possible psychological mechanisms underlying these presentations are discussed. The paper raises several questions on repetitive, intrusive thoughts that need to be addressed through further research.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Emotional Labour, Emotional Intelligence, and Psychological Distress

Jahanvash Karim and Robert Weisz
Universite de Paul Cezane, France

The purpose of the study was to explore (1) whether employees differing in emotional

intelligence level would differ in their emotional labour styles and (2) whether these

styles would mediate the impact of emotional labour on psychological distress. To test

the relationships, data was collected from employees of three public sector

organizations situated in Quetta, Pakistan. After establishing the psychometric

properties of the scales hypotheses were tested through Partial Least Squares (PLS) path

modelling algorithm. The results of this study indicated that (a) emotional intelligence

was positively and significantly related to deep acting; (b) surface acting was

positively and significantly related to psychological distress, and; (c) neither surface

acting nor deep acting mediated the relationship between emotional intelligence and

psychological distress.

Keywords: Emotional Labour, Emotional

Hochschild (1983) coined the term emotional labour and defined EL as 'the management of

feelings to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display to keep up with job

requirements. EL is sold for a wage and therefore has exchange value'. Since 1983, EL

has become an increasingly popular topic within the fields of psychology and management

(e.g., Ashforth & Tomiuk, 2000; Grandey, 2000; Grandey & Brauburger, 2002; Rafaeli &

Sutton, 1987; Zapf, 2002). In explanatory models of emotional labour (e.g., Brotheridge

& Lee, 2003; Grandey, 2000), surface (SA) and deep acting (DA) are the two most

frequently studied EL strategies. In DA, employee attempts to deeply modify internal

feelings to match the required organizational display rules. DA involves changing inner

feelings by altering something more than outward appearance. Rafaeli and Sutton (1987)

referred to this act as "faking in good faith" because employees' intent is to seem

authentic to the audience. In SA, employee modifies outward displays to be consistent

with display rules without shaping innerfeelings. In other words, employee hide felt

emotions or fake unfelt emotions. Hence, SA is termed as "faking in bad faith "(Rafaeli

& Sutton, 1987).
EL has been found to be associated with emotional intelligence (El) (Austin, Dore, &

O'Donovan, 2008; Giardini & Frese, 2006; Johnson, 2007; Johnson & Spector, 2007;

Mikolajczak, Menil, & Lumient, 2007; Totterdell & Holman, 2003). Mayer and Salovey

(1997) defined El as "the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion;

the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability

to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to

promote emotional and intellectual growth". There is accumulating evidence that El

abilities and traits influence numerous psychological adjustment variables such as

psychological distress and depression (e.g., Besharat, 2007; Dawda & Hart, 2000; Slaski

& Cartwright, 2002; Tsaousis & Nikolaou, 2005; Martinez-Pons, 1997). However, to our

knowledge, there is no study testing the extent to which EL strategies may mediate such

a connection. Theories of EL (e.g., Brotheridge & Lee, 2003; Diefendorff, Croyle, &

Gosserand, 2005; Grandey, 2000; Zapf, Seifert, Schmutte, Mertini, & Holz, 2001) suggest

that EL strategies at work are key vehicles of personality and organizational influences

on numerous psychological adjustment variables (e.g., distress, anxiety, stress,


The main objective of this study was to build and test on prior research the theoretical

links between EL, El, and psychological distress. In general, (1) employees with higher

levels of El were expected to engage more in the less destructive form of EL (i.e., DA)

and; (2) EL strategies were expected to mediate the relationship between El and

psychological distress.
EL and El
Various, empirical studies have explored the association between El and EL strategies

(e.g., Austin et al., 2008; Giardini & Frese, 2006; Johnson, 2007; Johnson & Spector,

2007; Mikolajczak et al., 2007; Totterdell & Holman, 2003). Austin et al. (2008) found

no association between El and DA and negative relationship between El and SA. Giardini

and Frese (2006) found that emotional competence was a significant personal resource in

moderating associations between EL and job/health outcome. Johnson (2007) found a

significant positive relationship between El and DA. Johnson and Spector (2007) found

that El did not moderate the relationship between the EL strategies and personal

outcomes (well-being). Mikolajczak et al. (2007) found negative relationship between El

and DA. Thus, further investigation is needed to unravel associations between El and

different EL strategies.
While there are numerous models and measures of El, a number of El dimensions are common

across measures. In particular, self-emotion appraisal, others' emotional appraisal, the

regulation of emotion, and the use of emotion are dimensions that appear on almost every

El measure (e.g., Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Wong & Law, 2002).
Self-emotional appraisal relates to the individual's ability to understand their deep

emotions and be able to express these emotions naturally, whereas others' emotional

appraisal relates to peoples' ability to perceive and understand the emotions of those

people around them (Wong & Law, 2002). These abilities form the major aspects of

emotional work (Zapf et al., 2001). It is expected that emotionally intelligent

employees will deep.act more because they are better able to perceive the emotional

display rules cues within the work settings, have knowledge what people around them

feel, read people emotions accurately, and don't always maintain neutral expressions

(i.e., smiles when happy or pleasant) (Caruso & Salovey, 2004).

The regulation of emotion relates to the ability of people to regulate their emotions,

which enables them to recover rapidly from psychological distress (Wong & Law, 2002).

Emotionally Intelligent people effectively manage emotions in oneself and others by

moderating negative emotions and enhancing pleasant ones (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Effective regulation of emotions allows an individual to induce and sustain a positive

affective state, which subsequently promotes helping behaviour and motivation (Joseph &

Newman, 2010). According to Butler et al. (2003), people with high ability to regulate

emotions are less likely to adopt the strategy of emotion suppression (i.e., SA) and

instead engage in a more effective strategy, such as cognitive appraisal. It is expected

that emotionally intelligent employees would be more prone toward employing the DA

strategy, because they can "psych up", calm down, or maintain a good mood as desirable

and can cheers others up, calm others down, or manage others feelings appropriately

(Caruso & Salovey, 2004).

Finally, the use of emotion relates to the ability of individuals to make use of their

emotions by directing them towards constructive activities and personal performance

(Wong & Law, 2002). Emotionally intelligent employees are better able to prioritize

thinking with the help of emotions, generate emotions as an aid to judgment, and

consider multiple points of view (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). It is expected that

emotionally intelligent people would engage themselves more in deep acting (than surface

acting) because by effectively using emotions they are able to swing their moods from

negative to positive in order to enhance persistence during difficult times (e.g.;

encountering a difficult customer) or stimulating creativity in solving difficult

problems (e.g., choosing among different atternatives for satisfying the difficult

customer) (Carmeli, 2003).
Hypothesis 1a. Individuals with high emotional intelligence will be less likely than to

surface act.
Hypothesis 1b: Individuals with high al intelligence will be more likely than to deep

EL and Psychological Distress

SA(i.e., modification of facial expression) requires more attention and effort than does

DA (i.e., modification of inner feelings) Brotheridge & Lee, 2003; Brotheridge &

Grandey. 2002; Grandey, 2003). SA is positively related to emotional dissonance and

felt inauthenticity (Liu, Prati, Perrewe, & Ferris, 2008). Emotional dissonance is an

aversive psychological state in which one experiences a sense of discrepancy between

one's real self and expressed emotions. According to Wharton (1999), the major reason

for this discrepancy is that, the organizational display rules prevent employees from

interacting with customers based on spontaneous intuition, which compel employees to

replace and supress their own emotional response by an organizationally sanctioned

response.Because individuals are motivated to maintain or enhance a sense of oneness and

SA leads to inauthentic/fake emotional displays (increases emotional dissonance), it has

been argued that SA results in psychological distress (i.e., depression) (Liu et al.,

2008). Grandey (2003) asserts that, "DA minimizes emotional dissonance by bringing

feelings in line with expressions, so DA's relationship with emotional exhaustion should

be weaker than the relationship between SA and emotional exhaustion" (p. 89). Emotional

exhaustion (a key component of burnout) closely resembles traditional stress reactions

that are studied in occupational stress research, such as job-related depression and

anxiety (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001). Research has demonstrated

that SA is more positively and strongly related to emotional exhaustion than DA (Kruml &

Geddes, 2000; Totterdell & Hoiman, 2003).

Hypothesis 2: DA's relationship with psychological distress is weaker than the

relationship between SA and psychological distress.

In general, a given variable functions as a mediator to the extent that it accounts for

the relationship between the predictor and the criterion (Baron & Kenny, 1986). This

study predicts that DA and SA will mediate the relationship between El and psychological

Research suggests that El abilities and traits contribute to good physical and

psychological health (e.g., Salovey, Bedell, Detweiler, & Mayer, 1999). For example,

people who do not recognize and understand their own emotions well are more prone to

depression and anxiety (Ciarrochi, Scott, Deane, & Heaven, 2003), substance use

disorders, eating disorders, and somatic complaints (Taylor, 2001; Conrad, Schilling,

Langenbuch, Haidl, & Liedtke, 2001). In a study conducted on clinically depressed

patients, Downey et al. (2008) found significant associations between severity of

depression and the El dimensions of Emotional Management (r= -0.56) and Emotional

Control (r = -0.62). In addition, various empirical studies have well documented the

significant negative relationship between overall El and psychological distress (e.g.,

Besharat, 2007; Tsaousis & Nikolaou, 2005).
As noted above, the primary value of understanding El lies in the prediction of certain

outcomes such as psychological distress. The previous discussion about the relationship

between EL strategies and psychological distress shows that EL strategies may affect the

level of psychological distress. Thus, El is related to psychological distress because

El affects emotional labour, in that El is a vital characteristic that enables an

individual to appropriately match the EL strategy (DA vs. SA) to the situation.

Consequently, the EL has a direct impact on the psychological distress level. The above

discussion suggests the hypothesis that EL will mediate the effects of El on

psychological distress.
Hypothesis 3a. SA will mediate the relationship between El and psychological distress
Hypothesis 3b: DA will mediate the relationship between El and psychological distress
The sample for this study consisted of 200 employees from three public sector

organizations situated in the province of Balochistan, Pakistan. 92 participants of the

total sampie (46 percent) were males and 108 (54 percent) were females. The mean age for

this sample was 31.48 years (SD = 8.10). All participants were treated in accordance

with the "Ethical principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct" (American

Psychological Association, 2002). Administration of the questionnaires was carried out

by post graduate students who acted as research assistants and no monetary incentive was

Psychological distress. Psychological distress was measured by Chan's (2005) twenty item

scale. This scale measures psychological distress in terms of current non-psychotic

symptoms in the five symptom areas represented by scales of health concerns, sleep

problems, anxiety, dysphoria, and suicidal ideas. Respondents were requested to rate

each symptom statement on a 5-point scale (not at all to extremely) by comparing

themselves during the past 2 weeks with their 'usual selves'. Coefficients alphas for

the five dimensions were: health concerns: .75; sleep problems: .68; anxiety: .60;

dysphoria: .86; and suicidal ideas: .78.

Emotional Labour. SA was measured by three items adopted from Grandey's (2003) EL scale.

The sample items include, "I just pretend to have the emotions I need to display for my

job". DA was measured by three items adopted from Brotheridge and Lee (1998) EL scale.

The sample items include, "I make an effort to actually feel the emotions that l need to

display to others". The response scale has been seven point Likert-type scale ranging

from one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).
Emotional intelligence. Wong and Law Emotional Intelligence Scale (WLEIS: Wong & Law,

2002), one of self-report measures based on Saloveyand Mayer's model (1990), taps

individuals' knowledge about their emotional abilities. Specifically, the WLEIS is a

measure of beliefs concerning self-emotional appraisal (ability to understand one's deep

emotions and be able to express these emotions naturally), others' emotional appraisal

(ability to perceive and understand the emotions of other people), regulation of emotion

(ability to regulate one's own emotions), and use of emotion (ability to make use of

one's emotions by directing them toward constructive activities and personal

performance). The response scale has been seven point Likert-type scale ranging from one

(strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree).
Design and Analysis
Inspection of skewness and kurtosis statistics revealed non normality for most of the

items. Because of nonnormal data we resorted to Partial Least Squares (PLS) path

modelling algorithm. PLS is far less restrictive in its distributional assumptions and

sample size restrictions as compared to covariance-based structural equation modelling

(CBSEM) (Fornell & Cha, 1994).
In line with Henseler, Ringle, and Sinkovics (2009) recommendations, PLS model was

analyzed and interpreted in two stages: the measurement model and the structural model.

The measurement model relates to the relations between manifest variables (observed

items) and latent variables. The measurement model is tested by assessing the validity

and reliability of the items and constructs in the model. Individual ■rem reliability

was assessed by examining the
oadings of respective items on their respective latent construct (Hulland, 1999),

whereas Composite reliability (nc) (Werts, Linn, & Joreskog, 1974) and Cronbach's alpha

(1951) were used to assess the reliability of scales. Convergent and discriminant

validity of constructs were assessed via Fornell and Larcker's (1981) AVE test. An AVE

value greater than 0.50 indicates that a latent variable is able to explain more than

half of the variance of its indicators on average. E. ;ence of the discriminant validity

occurs when square root of the variance extracted estimation exceed the correlations

between the factors making each pair (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). Regarding structural

"r -cnparametric bootstrapping procedure using 1000 subsamples was performed to evaluate

the statistical significance of each path coefficient and to provide confidence

intervals for all parameter estimates.
3::3ness-of-fit (GoF) (Tenenhaus. Esposito Vinzi, Chatelin, & Lauro, 2005) was employed

to assess the overall fit of the model. GoF is normed between 0 and 1, where a higher

value represents better path model estimations.
Measurement Model

The factor loadings from the final PLS measurement models are reported in Figure 1. PD5

(Sleep problem) due to factor loading of less than .50 was dropped from further

analysis. All remaining items loaded significantly (> .50) on their respective factors

which was an indication of indicator reliability. Composite reliability (hc) (Werts et

al., 1974) and Cronbach's alpha (1951) values for all scales exceeded the minimum

threshold level of 0.70 , thus indicating the reliability of all scales used in this

study (Table 1). Results revealed that the variance extracted for all factors exceeded

the minimum threshold value of 0.50 which was an indication of convergent validity of

all scales. Fornell and Larcker's (1981) test for discriminant validity

revealed relatively high variances extracted for each factor compared to the inter-scale

correlations, which was an indication of discriminant validity of four constructs (i.e.,

El, psychological distress, SA, and DA)

Structural Model
The results shown in Figure 1 supported hypothesis 1a and 1b: the coefficient of the

path from El to SAwas insignificant [a =-.03, t =0.21, p<.05, 95% CI:(-.26)-(.21)] and the coefficient of the path from El to DA was significant [a =.23, t= 3.16, p<,05, 95% CI: (.08) - (.39)]. Regarding hypothesis 2, SA had a significant direct impact on psychological distress [a =.30, f=5.56, p<001, 95% CI: (.20)-(.41), ^=.067] and the impact of DA on psychological distress was insignificant [3= .09, f =1.51, p>05, 95%

CI:(-.02) - (.22), F = .0101.

Exogenous variables in the model (i.e., DA, and SA) explained low amounts of variance of

psychological distress (R2 = .12). The value of R2may be decomposed in terms of the

multiple regression coefficients and correlations between the dependent variable and the

explanatory ones (Tenanhaus et al., 2005). This decomposition allows understanding the

contribution of each explanatory variable to the prediction of the dependent one. For

this model, SA was the most important variable in the prediction of psychological

distress, contributing to 82.5 %of the R2. On the contrary, DA contribution was only

16.33 % (far less than SA) (Table 2). The goodness-of-fit (GoF) (Tenanhaus et al., 2005)

index for the PLS model was 0.21, which indicated an acceptable data-model fit.

To test Hypothesis 3a and 3b proposing that emotional labour mediates the effect of El

on psychological distress, multiple mediator model (Preacher and Hayes, 2008) was tested

with case values of composite latent variables obtained in the PLS analysis. As can be

seen in Table 3, the 95 percent confidence intervals for both paths included zero,

therefore both SA and DA did not mediate the relationship between El and psychological


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among EL, El, and

psychological distress in a sample of employees working in public sector organizations.

A specific objective was to determine the mediatory role of EL in the relationship

between El and psychological distress. The majority of proposed hypothesis received

considerable support, clearly demonstrating the relationships of the EL with EI and

psychological distress. This is the first empirical study (to my knowledge) in a South

Asian context to assess the relationship of EL strategies with other variables.
It was hypothesized that El would be differentially related to the EL strategies, that

is, emotionally intelligent employees would engage more in DA (modification of internal

feelings) than SA (faking or suppression of feelings). In line with previous studies

(Cote, 2005; Johnson, 2007) support was found for this hypothesis. This finding

indicates that El is a vital characteristic that enables an individual to appropriately

match the EL strategy to the situation (Feldman Barrrett, & Gross, 2001). Furthermore,

El enables people to deep act more that is, to understand people, be empathetic to their

circumstances, and internalizes their feelings. Conversely employees low on El are more

inclined to surface act, because they are unable to accurately perceive, appraise,

understand, and express emotions in order to comply with the demands of the situation as

well as to internalize others feelings. In other words, it s easy for employees low on

El to suppress or fake emotions than to generate positive emotions via perceiving,

understanding and regulating emotions (El abilities).
It was hypothesized that individuals performing SA would be more susceptible to

psychological distress than individuals T-; = :e: In DA. in line with previous studies

fe.g.r Johnson, 2007; Kruml & Geddes, 2000; "fctterdell & Holman, 2003) support was

foundforthis hypothesis. SAwas the most important variable in the prediction of

psychological distress, contributing to 82.25 % of the R2. This finding corroborates the

assertion that emotional dissonance (the difference between felt and expressed emotions)

is the direct outcome of SA and leads to emotional exhaustion (Grandey, 2003), which in

turn positively influences many negative outcomes such as psychological distress

(Panagopoulou, Kersbergen, & Maes, 2002). Furthermore, there was no relationship between

DA and psychological distress and this finding was consistent with previous findings

(Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002; Grandey, 2003). This finding suggest that employees who

engage themselves in DA are better able to avoid psychological distress by actively

changing their emotions (rather than just simply modifying outer expressions as in SA)

in order to comply with organizational display rules.
Finally no support was found for the mediatory role of EL in the relationship between El

and psychological distress, in order to gain further understanding of the situation,

second model was tested by adding an additional path from El to psychological distress.

The results indicated significant direct impact of El on psychological distress [a =

-.24, i = 3.10, p < .05, 95% CI: (-.36) - (-.09), f = .06], This shows that El directly

impacts psychological distress rather than through other mediatory variables.
The current study provides several implications for practice. It is evident from the

results of current study that in order to promote DA, organizations must find ways to

enhance employees' El level. This could be accomplished via cultivating a service-

oriented organizational climate, training and socialization of employees. Training

programs focusing on emotional regulation skills and DA techniques to cope with

emotional demands of work can help in reducing the deleterious effects of SA. Organizations must find ways to hire emotionally intelligence people against jobs that require substantial amounts of emotional work. Finally, employers can help employees to internalize their roles rather to fake the emotions (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993) by providing them adequate resources needed to meet the demands of the job.
There are few limitations in this study that must be mentioned. First, the results are specific to organizations in one geographical area and may or may not be generalizable to other areas. Second, we used a cross-sectional design, which limited our ability to draw any causal references regarding the relationships found among variables in the study. The direction of causality (in cross-sectional studies) cannot be established and will have to be examined using longitudinal data. Finally, all respondents were full-time employees and these findings may not be applicable to part-time employees.
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Jahanvash Karim, Doctoral Student, des Entreprises d'Aix-en-Province, Ut Puyricard - BP 30063, France
Robert Weisz, PhD, Universite de Paul Cezane, Clos Guiot Puyricard - BP 30063, France