Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


Sinclair, Robert R

Committee Member

Moore , D. DeWayne

Committee Member

Switzer , Fred S

Committee Member

McCubbin , James A


Much of the literature on economic stress focuses on outcomes. This study assessed the antecedents that precede employee perceptions of economic strain. A multilevel framework of economic antecedents was proposed. The framework included objective indicators of the macroeconomic context as well as individual-level objective and subjective economic antecedents. It was hypothesized that antecedents within each of these categories of economic stress can fall into one of two dimensions: employment- or finance-related. Indicators of the macroeconomic context were gathered from the American Community Survey (ACS). Over 2,000 union employees of a large U.S. Midwestern retail chain provided individual employee-level economic information and economic stress perceptions. A confirmatory factor analysis examined the fit of the hypothesized framework of economic antecedents. Distinct employment- and finance-related factors were found at both the macroeconomic and individual level. The individual-level economic antecedent factors were found to be predictive of individual economic stress perceptions. Individual employment-related factor, finance-related factor, and subjective ratings of job insecurity were related to all three dimensions of economic stress: financial strain, income inadequacy for wants, and income inadequacy for needs. No relationship between the macroeconomic factors and economic stress perceptions was found. Implications of the findings and future directions for research are discussed.

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