Dr. Mindy Shoss


The COVID-19 pandemic has posed heightened threats to worker well-being. We know that different jobs pose different levels of risk to employees. Physical proximity and exposure to disease/illness are job characteristics that present threats to employee physical health. Based on cognitive theories of stress, we hypothesized that these job characteristics also pose a threat to employees’ emotional well-being. Our sample of 177 participants was made up of working students coming from the University of Central Florida, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and healthcare professionals recruited using a snowball sampling method. These participants consisted primarily of healthcare workers, food service workers, teachers/ childcare workers, retail workers/ sales associates, amusement/ recreation workers, office assistants, interns, or customer service workers and grocery workers. We found that there is a significant positive association between risk-enhancing job characteristics and emotional exhaustion, but that anticipated workload change does not moderate these relationships. These findings suggest that risk-enhancing job characteristics do negatively affect employees. We suggest that managers act preventatively to limit employee strain by following CDC guidelines and/or offering remote work to reduce risk. Future research could examine other potential anticipated workplace stressors as a function of risk-enhancing job characteristics and employee well-being

About the Author

Zoe L. Politis recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a track in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a certificate in Human Resources from the University of Central Florida. She is currently enrolled in UCF's Industrial and Organizational Psychology Master's program in which she holds a role as a Graduate Research Assistant.

Ignacio Azcarate is an undergraduate Psychology student with a track in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and a minor in Cognitive Sciences at the University of Central Florida. He is a lab manager for the Stressful Events and Experiences research group and serves on UCF's Student Undergraduate Research Council. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in the future to continue research and practice in the field.

Michael DiStaso is a Ph.D. student in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology Program at the University of Central Florida. He is interested in studying both experienced stressful events and the simulation and prediction of future stressful events.



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