Chronic Occupational Stressors, Self-Focused Attention, and Well-Being: Testing a Cybernetic Model of Stress

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By using a cybernetic approach to occupational stress, it was hypothesized that the relationship between chronic work stressors and strain would be stronger among individuals high in private self-consciousness than among individuals low in private self-consciousness. Moderated regression analyses, using a sample of 135 blue-collar workers, revealed strong support for this hypothesis. This finding is antithetical to prior research showing that self-focused attention may buffer the effect of acute life events (Mullen & Suls, 1982; Suls & Fletcher, 1985). The results of the present study in conjunction with prior research suggest that the type of stressor (acute vs. chronic) examined may be a boundary condition influencing the direction of Stressor × Self-Focused Attention interactions. Implications for future research and stress management are discussed.

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