Effects of occupational future time perspective on managing stressful work situations

Henry C. Y. Ho, Dannii Y. Yeung
Published Online:
27 Jan 2015
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 51 Issue 4

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According to the socioemotional selectivity theory (SST; Carstensen, 2006), older adults perceive their future time as increasingly limited, which motivates them to focus more on emotional goals and prefer passive emotion‐focused strategies. This study aims to investigate the effect of occupational future time perspective (OFTP) on the use of problem‐solving strategies in stressful work situations and to examine the effectiveness of these strategies on psychological well‐being. A sample of 199 Chinese clerical workers responded to a structured questionnaire on problem‐solving strategy use in relation to hypothetical work scenarios. Results revealed that relative to those with limited OFTP, workers with expansive OFTP preferred problem‐focused and proactive strategies in both low‐ and high‐emotionally salient scenarios. Workers with limited OFTP consistently preferred passive strategies irrespective of emotional salience. OFTP moderated the effect of problem‐focused strategies on psychological distress. In particular, there was a significant negative relationship between problem‐focused strategies and psychological distress among workers with expansive OFTP, but such pattern of relationship was not observed among workers with limited OFTP. Findings of this study inform the training strategies employed by practitioners to fit the developmental goals of workers in order to maximise their strengths at work.

© 2015 International Union of Psychological Science