Affect Spin and the Emotion Regulation Process at Work

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Regulating emotions is one of the most depleting activities that customer service employees are asked to do, but not all employees get burned out by the end of an emotionally laborious day. In the current study, affect spin—the trait variability of an individual’s affective states—was hypothesized to increase strain and fatigue associated with emotion regulation, yet weaken the relation between recent strain and immediate fatigue. The authors examined these hypotheses in an experience sampling study of restaurant servers. Sixty-three servers completed surveys on 4 occasions during each of approximately 10 shifts (2,051 total surveys). Multilevel analyses supported the underlying model linking emotion regulation to fatigue at work as well as the hypothesized role of affect spin. Although affect spin reflects greater reactivity to affective events, it also provides some degree of a buffer from the fatiguing effects of these events.

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