Social psychology, the social bond, trust, stress and strain, work
My dissertation is about strain at work and how factors such as social support alleviate the strain. It is a multi-method micro focused study that includes interviews, diaries, and a survey. The setting is a hospital and the main population includes nurses and other hospital workers such as respiratory technicians and pharmacists. The majority of the data provides insight into stressful situations that workers experience and what factors best alleviate the associated strain.
The causes of strain include instances when demands exceed resources, frustrations with co-workers, and sensitivity to self-evaluations or performance perceptions. One of the key contributions includes examining the effect that trust has on stress, in a detailed quantitative way. This includes delving into the concept of trust and examining how the trustor’s perception of the trustee’s competence and helpfullness affect the magnitude and stability of the trust.
More broadly, I argue for the importance of people and relationships in the battle of overcoming the pressures of life. I discuss how personal factors such as character, competence, and compassion positively impact the larger scale organizational and institutional environment. The dissertation has direct implications for healthcare, organizational performance, individual performance, health, and well-being.
Advisors: Randall Collins (chair), Jerry Jacobs, David Gibson (Notre Dame)