Emotional Regulation as a Mediator between Interpersonal Mistreatment and Distress
Format of Original
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Theory and research from the emotional labour literature focusing on mistreatment of employees by customers were used to examine interpersonal mistreatment by customers, coworkers, and supervisors. Specifically, we examined the relationships between all three of these sources of interpersonal mistreatment and psychological distress. We also examine the possibility that emotional regulation strategies mediated these relationships. In Study 1, we focused on surface acting as the mediating emotional regulation strategy. Using a sample of 256 working adults, the results of that study found a mediating role for surface acting between mistreatment and distress for mistreatment by customers and coworkers but not supervisors. In Study 2, we included measures of both deep acting and surface acting as potential mediators between sources of mistreatment and distress. Using a sample of 138 working adults, this second study again found that surface acting mediated the relationship between mistreatment and distress for mistreatment by customers and coworkers but not supervisors. Further, deep acting did not mediate any of the relationships between sources of mistreatment and psychological distress. We conclude surface acting plays an important mediating role in the relationship between interpersonal mistreatment by both customers and coworkers, and psychological distress.