Who is more susceptible to job stressors and resources? Sensory-processing sensitivity as a personal resource and vulnerability factor

Tinne Vander Elst*, Maarten Sercu, Anja Van den Broeck, Elke Van Hoof, Elfi Baillien, Lode Godderis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study aimed to investigate whether people scoring higher (compared to lower) on sensory-processing sensitivity respond differently to the work environment. Specifically, based on the literature on sensory-processing sensitivity and the Job Demands-Resources model, we predicted that the three components of sensory-processing sensitivity (i.e. ease of excitation, aesthetic sensitivity and low sensory threshold) amplify the relationship between job demands (i.e. workload and emotional demands) and emotional exhaustion as well as the relationship between job resources (i.e. task autonomy and social support) and helping behaviour. Survey data from 1019 Belgian employees were analysed using structural equation modelling analysis. The results showed that ease of excitation and low sensory threshold amplified the relationship between job demands and emotional exhaustion. Low sensory threshold also strengthened the job resources–helping behaviour relationship. This study offered first evidence on the greater susceptibility among highly sensitive persons to the work environment and demonstrated that the moderating role might differ for the three components of sensory-processing sensitivity. Additionally, it adds sensory-processing sensitivity to the Job Demands-Resources model and highlights the idea that personal factors may act both as a personal vulnerability factor and a personal resource, depending on the nature of the perceived work environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225103
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

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