Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Dr. Thomas W. Britt, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Sinclair

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa


While many employees work to live, others live to work. Those who experience work this way are described as having a calling. Occupational calling refers to employees who feel emotional ties to their work, viewing their work as both important and rewarding resulting from a transcendent summons, having purposeful work, or a prosocial orientation. Many positive outcomes have been linked to calling, but less is known about the potential negative outcomes that may also occur. Although a few studies have begun to investigate the negative effects of having a calling, less research has focused on distinguishing when positive versus negative outcomes may occur for these employees. The present study investigated whether individuals with a calling may experience either positive or negative consequences based on the type of demand they are faced with or the number of hours worked. Results indicated that the relationships between hindrance stressors and mental health symptoms were magnified when participants reported higher levels of occupational calling, whereas calling did not influence the outcomes of challenge stressors. Occupational calling was also associated with increased rates of working excessively and working compulsively, and these workaholism dimensions were linked to increased mental health symptoms and work-family conflict. A multiple mediation model was examined where the three dimensions of occupational calling were related to mental health symptoms and work-family conflict through the two dimensions of workaholism. Findings indicated that the three calling dimensions were indirectly related to worse mental health through working excessively. The present study builds on recent research that has shown that while calling provides numerous positive outcomes, negative effects may also occur. Given the passion and drive to work in one’s career path, employees with a calling can be an organization’s best resource. The results of the present study hold potential for interventions to minimize the negative outcomes that can result from possessing an occupational calling.



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