Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman

Second Advisor

Jessica L. Wildman

Third Advisor

Patrick Converse

Fourth Advisor

Heidi Hatfield Edwards


There is a widely held assumption that anxiety is always bad for job performance, when, in reality, the research findings on anxiety and performance are complex, varied, and inconsistent. Anxiety is extremely common and recently on the rise in the general population, and it can be related to important workplace outcomes such as job performance and well-being. Using the theoretical backdrops of the job demands-resources model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2007, 2018) and the theory of workplace anxiety (Cheng & McCarthy, 2018), this study proposed a model examining the mechanisms through which trait anxiety could lead to lower and higher typical job performance and lower employee well-being. Findings were mixed. The indirect effect of trait anxiety on typical job performance through emotional exhaustion was not significant. Trait anxiety was negatively related to employee well-being through emotional exhaustion. While Behavioral drive, a recently-developed motivational construct that measures effort, was positively related to typical job performance, opposite of what was hypothesized, trait anxiety was negatively indirectly related to typical job performance through behavioral drive, However, the effect disappeared when using other-rated rather than self-rated typical performance data. Additionally, behavioral drive buffered the negative relationship between trait anxiety and self-rated typical job performance. This study contributes to the growing conversation about anxiety in the workplace and answers the call for a more humanistic approach to I/O psychology.


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