The older, the better! Age-related differences in emotion regulation after psychological contract breach.

P.M. Bal, P. Smit

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The aim of this paper was to investigate the role of emotion regulation and age in reactions to psychological contract breach towards positive and negative affect. The authors expected that in the context of contract breach, reappraisal emotion regulation mitigate the negative relation with affect. Moreover, based on lifespan theory, suppression emotion regulation was expected to be important for younger workers, because older workers have learned how to express themselves appropriately at the workplace. Consequently, suppression would mitigate the relations of contract breach with wellbeing only among younger workers, while it strengthened the relation for older workers. Data were collected among 163 employees working in various Dutch organizations. Moderated regression analyses were used to test the hypotheses. Reappraisal mitigated the relation of contract breach with positive affect, and suppression mitigated the relations of contract breach with positive affect only among younger workers, while for older workers with high suppression the relations were accentuated. It was also found that contract breach was more strongly related to negative affect for younger workers than for older workers. Reactions towards psychological contract breaches are influenced by the emotion regulation strategies people employ. Especially reappraisal is important to maintain optimal levels of affect, while suppression is detrimental especially for older workers. This paper is the first study in which emotion regulation strategies are investigated in the context of psychological contract breaches. The paper presents novel insights into how reactions to contract breaches are modified through emotion regulation strategies and age. © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-24
JournalCareer Development International
Volume17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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