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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes

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Although much is known about the harmful effects of perceived discrimination on employees’ psychological wellbeing, surprisingly few studies have examined why some individuals with stigmatized identities are able to rise above and overcome the effects of prejudicial work events. To address this gap in the literature, we integrate existing theory and research on workplace discrimination, mindfulness, and paranoid cognition to develop and test a dynamic, within-person moderated mediation model that explains why some employees are able to interrupt the process through which perceptions of discrimination lead to emotional exhaustion the next workday. Specifically, an experience sampling study conducted over two workweeks utilizing a sample of 105 transgender employees revealed that perceptions of discrimination predicted greater emotional exhaustion the following morning at work via heightened levels of paranoid cognition. However, trait mindfulness moderated this indirect within-person effect, such that individuals higher on mindfulness reported less paranoid cognition the morning after reporting discrimination at work and, in turn, were less emotionally depleted. By integrating the concept of mindfulness into the discrimination literature and examining the mediating role of paranoid cognition, the present study sheds light on one avenue by which employees with stigmatized identities are able to “weather the storm” of prejudicial experiences at work and has a number of key implications for future research on workplace discrimination, mindfulness, and paranoia.


Accepted version. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 159 (July 2020): 49-63. DOI. © 2020 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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