When does feeling in control benefit well-being? The boundary conditions of identity commitment and self-esteem

Allison S. Gabriel, Rebecca J. Erickson, James M. Diefendorff, Daniel Krantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In highly volatile contexts such as health care, employees are exposed to events that impact their daily well-being. Drawing largely from stress process and identity theories, we examined the within-person relationship between perceived control over salient work events and well-being (e.g., emotional exhaustion, psychological vitality) among full-time registered nurses. We also considered how two interrelated, yet distinct, aspects of the self—identity commitment and self-esteem—moderated the aforementioned relationships. Using daily diary surveys collected over six consecutive shifts, we found that perceived control over a salient work event was negatively related to emotional exhaustion and positively related to psychological vitality at the end of the shift. These within-person effects were strengthened for nurses who had higher levels of identity commitment to the nursing role, lending support to the view that the well-being effects of perceived control in work events depend on the importance of the job for the nurses' identity. Further, the negative relationship between perceived control and emotional exhaustion was weakened among nurses' reporting higher self-esteem, suggesting that self-esteem may act as a resource that buffers the harmful effects of low perceived control during work events. Finally, perceived control, identity commitment, and self-esteem combined to predict well-being, suggesting that low perceived control is particularly harmful when one is very committed to the nursing role identity while also having low self-esteem. Together, our results clarify how aspects of the self-shape the effects of nurses' perceptions of control on day-level well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103415
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Daily diary
  • Identity commitment
  • Perceived control
  • Self-esteem
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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