Employees' perceptions of their own and their supervisor's emotion recognition skills moderate emotional demands on psychological strain

Michelle K. Tucker*, Nerina L. Jimmieson, Prashant Bordia

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    This research builds on prior studies showing the role of employee emotion recognition in the stress process to be mixed and conflicting. As such, it was proposed that the extent to which employees' emotion recognition skills buffer or exacerbate emotional demands depends on the extent to which employees believe their supervisor also is skilled in emotion recognition. Two samples of Australian employees completed cross-sectional questionnaires. Sample 1 consisted of 149 employees in a medical research institution, and Sample 2 consisted of 161 government employees in an equipment supplies and logistics service. A three-way interaction among emotional demands, employee emotion recognition, and perceived supervisor emotion recognition was found on psychological strain in both samples and on job dissatisfaction in Sample 1. As predicted, when employee emotion recognition was high, those who perceived their supervisor to be high in emotion recognition were buffered from emotional demands. In contrast, stress-exacerbating effects were found when employees were high in emotion recognition, but supervisors were perceived to be low in emotion recognition. Overall, these results highlight the importance of emotion recognition in the stress process, and that the same skill set needs to be perceived in one's supervisor, an interpersonal resource, for this intrapersonal resource to be adaptive for employees.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-202
    Number of pages12
    JournalStress and Health
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

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