Mary Kirkman

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Elizabeth Erffmeyer, William Pfohl, John O'Connor


Access granted to WKU students, faculty and staff only.

After an extensive unsuccessful search for the author, this thesis is considered an orphan work, which may be protected by copyright. The inclusion of this orphan work on TopScholar does not guarantee that that orphan work may be used for any purpose and any use of the orphan work may subject the user to a claim of copyright infringement. The reproduction of this work is made by WKU without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and is made for purposes of preservation and research.

See also WKU Archives - Authorization for Use of Thesis, Special Project & Dissertation

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The present study addressed whether “stressed” individuals perceive job characteristics (i.e., skill variety, task identify, task significance, autonomy and feedback) differently than do “not-stressed” individuals. In a laboratory experiment, undergraduate college students enrolled in psychology classes were randomly assigned to role-play a stressed or not-stressed door-to-door book salesperson. As hypothesized, subjects in the stressed condition described the job as having less skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback than did subjects in the not-stressed condition. Thus, results indicate that level of stress, a personal characteristic variable, affects perceptions of job characteristics. In addition, the stressed group perceived the job as less meaningful, having less responsibility for work outcomes, and providing less knowledge of results of work activities. Finally, the stressed group considered the job as less motivating than did the not-stressed group. These results contribute to a currently expanding area of research examining the relationship between aspects of job characteristics theory and stress. The implication of these findings for the workplace as well as limitations of the study are discussed.


Business | Human Resources Management | Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Performance Management | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences