School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)


Natalie Hamrick


perceived stress, depressive affect, anxiety, workplace spirituality, positive religious coping




Higher levels of workplace and COVID-related stressors appear clearly linked to poorer mental health outcomes, and evidence is emerging that suggests positive religious coping (PRC) and workplace spirituality (WS) are both related to better mental health outcomes. It could be that PRC and WS buffer the impact of high stress levels on mental health. However, only one study exists that has explored the moderating effect of PRC in the stress-mental health relationship, and no studies exist exploring the moderating effect of WS in the stress-mental health relationship. Therefore, this study looked at the moderating role of PRC and WS in the relationship between the level of traditional workplace and COVID-19 related stressors encountered and levels of depressive affect, anxiety, and perceived stress. Facebook recruitment posts were used to obtain 310 participants who were at least 18 years old, worked an average of 35 hours a week, worked in the hospitality industry for at least six months prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020) and stayed within the organization six months afterwards. Each participant completed a 20-minute online survey containing Traditional stressors, COVID related stressors, PSS, HADS, CES-D, RCOPE, and the WS scale. Twelve linear regressions were used to test all hypotheses involving the four interaction combinations of traditional stress, COVID stress, PRC and WS predicting depressive affect, anxiety and perceived stress. Although not all interaction terms significantly predicted the outcomes, all significant interaction effects were positive (the opposite was predicted). Under higher levels of traditional workplace or COVID stress, those lower in PRC or WS had lower depressive affect, anxiety and perceived stress. These unexpected results may be due to fact that approximately 90% of the sample had a CES-D score above the suggested cut-off for clinical depression, and serotonin deficits may have been too high for positive coping or workplace conditions to make a difference. Employers need to be mindful to reduce workplace stress and encourage employees to practice mental health self-care. Investing in their mental well-being is a good pay off both for the employees and management because it can reduce turnover, which saves employers time and money.

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