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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume III, Work and Wellbeing by Peter Chen, Cary Cooper

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Chapter 18

Longitudinal Research in Occupational Stress

A Review of Methodological Issues

Robert C. Brusso

Old Dominion University, U.S.A. and ICF International

Konstantin P. Cigularov and Rachel C. Callan

Old Dominion University, U.S.A.

Occupational stress researchers are interested in the physiological, behavioral, and psychological responses of employees (i.e., strains) to job characteristics and work environment factors (i.e., stressors) in order to (a) predict the outcomes of exposure to stressors, and (b) better design and organize work or to intervene to reduce the presence of stressors and the experiences of strains (Cooper, 1998; Sonnentag & Frese, 2003; Tetrick & Quick, 2011). Although research in occupational stress continues to dominate the field of occupational health psychology (Macik-Frey, Quick, & Nelson, 2007), it has not been spared by criticisms of methodological shortcomings and deficiency of rigorous longitudinal studies, thus limiting its theoretical and practical contributions (Frese & Zapf, 1988; Kasl, 1987; Sonnentag & Frese, 2003; Zapf, Dormann, & Frese, 1996).

In fact, the prevalence of cross-sectional studies and the need for longitudinal research have been highlighted as key limitations of the occupational stress literature by both methodological (e.g., de Lange, Taris, Kompier, Houtman, & Bongers, 2003; Zapf et al., 1996) and meta-analytic reviews (e.g., Amstad, Meier, Fasel, Elfering, & Semmer, 2011; Crawford, LePine, & Rich, 2010; Eatough, Chang, ...

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