Volume 6, Article 4

Volume 6, Article 4

Attachment orientations as moderators in the emotionally mediated relationship between workload and co-worker relationship quality: A diary study
Claudia Schusterschitz and Wilhelm Geser

Citation: Schusterschitz, C., & Geser, W. (2022). Attachment orientations as moderators in the emotionally mediated relationship between workload and co-worker relationship quality: A diary study. International Journal of Stress Prevention and Wellbeing, 6, 4, 1-17. https://www.stressprevention.net/volume/volume-6-2022/volume-6-article-4/

Processing dates: Submitted: 3 November 2021; Re-submitted: 25 January 2022; Accepted: 1 April 2022; Published: 12 September 2022


Background/Aims/Objectives: Based on affective events theory, our daily diary study examines whether emotional reactions to workload mediate the relationship between workload and co-worker relationship quality. Besides, building on attachment theory and findings, demonstrating attachment-related differences in emotional stress reactions, work-related emotion regulation, and co-worker relationship quality, we test whether attachment orientations moderate daily emotional reactions to workload, and their impact on co-worker relationships.

Methods/Methodology: In our diary study, 339 employees completed daily reports of workload, work-related emotions, and co-worker relationship quality, over ten workdays. Attachment orientations were measured once, before the start of the daily surveys.

Results: Results of multilevel moderated mediation analysis show that workload influences co-worker relationships via emotional reactions to workload, on the within and between level. Findings further show direct effects of attachment orientations on daily emotional experiences and co-worker relationships, and attachment orientations play a moderating role.

Discussion/Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence that daily co-worker relationships may suffer from heavy workloads, specifically from emotional reactions to workload. They thus challenge the widespread conceptualization of co-worker support as an all-time available resource, since lowered co-worker relationship quality may prevent social support seeking and providing in times of stress. Employees with an insecure and specifically with an avoidant attachment orientation turned out as especially vulnerable to negative emotional reactions to workload. Therefore, this target group may especially profit from interventions aimed at supporting the development of more adaptive coping and emotion regulation strategies.

Keywords: Workload; Emotions at work; Attachment Orientations; Co-worker Relationships; Diary Study


Dr. Claudia Schusterschitz, is Associate Professor at UMIT Tirol – Private University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Department of Psychology and Sports Medicine, Institute of Psychology, Hall in Tirol, Austria
Email: claudia.schusterschitz@umit.at

Wilhelm Geser is Assistant Professor at Leopold-Franzens University Innsbruck, Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science, Institute of Psychology, Innsbruck, Austria
Email: willi.geser@uibk.ac.at