Although creative behaviors are known to have positive effects on general well-being, little research has looked at the relationship between an individual's creativity and stress within the context of work. This research explored how creativity may work as a buffer against the strain of job stressors. In study 1, six vignettes were developed using Role Stressor Theory (Kahn et al., 1964) and the Challenge/Hindrance Framework of stress (Cavanaugh et al., 2000). A sample of 164 undergraduate students responded to the vignettes and results showed that trait-level creativity was directly related not only to the creativity of the solutions the participants generated, but also impacted the way they perceived and responded to the stressors. Creative participants were more likely to view the stressors as challenges to be overcome rather than hindrances and were more likely to suggest they would employ active coping mechanisms to tackle these stressors. In the second study, a sample of 273 working adults completed a questionnaire regarding creativity and the stressors-strain pathway (Spector & Jex, 1998) within their jobs. This study found that employee creativity was positively related to outcomes such as job satisfaction, engagement, and flow states at work and negatively related to physical health symptoms, turnover intent, and burnout. The study also found that for certain types of work stressors, namely organizational constraints, creativity acted as a buffer against strain, moderating the strength of the relationship between stressors (constraints) and strain measured as turnover intent, burnout, and physical health symptoms. The findings of these studies suggest that trait creativity impacts not only employees' capacity to generate new and useful ideas and solutions, but also their ability to manage and respond to stressors at work.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Perez, Alyssa, "Creativity as a Resource: How Creativity Influences the Appraisal of Work Stressors and Subsequent Strain" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 915.