Understanding Coping at Work During Socio-Environmental Jolts: A Person-Centered Investigation

Mahira L. Ganster, Maira E. Ezerins, Allison S. Gabriel, Nitya Chawla, Christopher C. Rosen, Rebecca L. MacGowan, Jerel E. Slaughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coping with work-related stress is a key component of several theories that focus on employee well-being and performance. Yet, despite the myriad of ways that employees can cope, little is known about the complexities surrounding how employees may deploy multiple coping strategies in conjunction, particularly during unprecedented, uncontrollable, and novel socio-environmental events that disrupt work life, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing from the cybernetic theory of stress, we posit that taking a person-centered approach to coping may uncover the complex ways that employees cope with stress simultaneously, generating distinct profiles of coping. To illustrate this, we focus on employee coping within a context that has served as a significant socio-environmental jolt—working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across two studies, we first consider distinct profiles of coping that may emerge (Study 1). We then consider antecedents related to the pandemic (i.e., work uncertainty, work location, and work arrangement autonomy) as well as outcomes of profile membership, including somatic complaints, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, and job performance (Study 2). Combined, our research contributes to the coping and stress literatures by adopting a person-centered approach that identifies how profiles of coping—rather than any one particular strategy in isolation—may facilitate employee well-being, work attitudes, and performance during periods of heightened work stress and uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Business and Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Coping
  • COVID-19
  • Job performance
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Psychology


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