Attributions, cognitions, and coping styles:teleworkers' reactions to work-related problems

Norman, Paul, Collins, Sylvie, Connor, Mark, Martin, Robin and Rance, Jaynie (1995). Attributions, cognitions, and coping styles:teleworkers' reactions to work-related problems. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25 (2), pp. 117-128.


Based on the attributional reformulation of learned helplessness theory (Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978) and Lazarus and Launier's (1978) primary-secondary appraisal theory of stress, the present study sought to examine teleworkers' reactions to their work-related problems. The role of attributions about the sources, and cognitions about the consesquences, of these problems in promoting positive adaptation was addressed. In particular, it was predicted that teleworkers who made optimistic attributions and cognitions would be more likely to employ problem-focused coping strategies and, as a result, report more positive psychological and job-related outcomes. Based on a survey sample of 192 teleworkers, the results indicated that a tendency to engage in self-blame was related to the use of emotion-focused coping strategies. In turn, there was evidence linking emotion-focused coping strategies to negative outcomes and problem-focused coping strategies to positive outcomes. The results are discussed in relation to attributional approaches to stress which highlight the importance of cognitions about the consequences of negative events. Finally, implications for the training of teleworkers are presented.


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