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Do individuals combine different coping strategies to manage their stress in the aftermath of psychological contract breach over time? A longitudinal study
Journal of Vocational Behavior  (IF6.065),  Pub Date : 2021-10-22, DOI: 10.1016/j.jvb.2021.103651
Safâa Achnak, Tim Vantilborgh

This study examines the dynamic interaction between perceptions of psychological contract breach (PCB), negative emotions, and stress over time. Additionally, we determine if individuals could be differentiated based on coping profiles, and further assessed whether emotional and stress reactions to PCB over time varied as a function of these profiles. Using a longitudinal design, a sample of 1077 employees working in various industries completed a monthly questionnaire for six consecutive months reporting their perceptions of PCB, negative emotions, stress reactions, and ensuing coping mechanisms. Results from the latent growth analysis revealed that individuals confronted with increasing levels of PCB over time reported growing stress due to their escalating negative emotions. Moreover, the latent profile analysis of coping performed in two randomly selected subgroups revealed that there were three coping profiles within our sample (i.e., low copers, average-problem-focused copers, high-problem-and-emotion-focused copers). We also found evidence for differential trajectories of negative emotional and stress reactions to PCB over time depending on the different coping profiles. As such, individuals endorsing high levels on all three types of coping but relatively higher levels on emotion-focused and problem-focused coping compared to avoidance coping were associated with the most favorable psychological functioning over time (i.e., no escalation in emotional and stress reactions to PCB over time). In contrast, individuals endorsing low levels on all three types of coping reported less favorable psychological functioning in the long term. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our findings and offer recommendations for future research.