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The suppression of negative emotions in elder care

Jennifer Z. Gillespie (Department of Psychology, University of South Florida Sarasota‐Manatee, Sarasota, Florida, USA)
Patricia B. Barger (Kronos, Inc., Beaverton, Oregon, USA)
Jennifer E. Yugo (School of Business Administration, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA)
Cheryl J. Conley (Alzheimer's Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Lynn Ritter (Alzheimer's Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter, Toledo, Ohio, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 27 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe two studies that investigate the suppression of negative emotions in the context of elder care, including the emotional job demands that may, together with display rules, elicit negative suppression (Study 1) and the association between negative suppression and job attitudes (Study 2).

Design/methodology/approach

Group interviews were conducted to understand the emotional demands of elder care (Study 1), and a survey was administered to direct care providers that included measures of negative suppression, job satisfaction, and job stress (Study 2).

Findings

Difficult events with patients (e.g. deterioration) are an emotional demand that may interact with display rules to elicit negative suppression (Study 1). Negative suppression is generally associated with less favorable job attitudes, controlling for individual differences in affectivity (Study 2).

Research limitations/implications

This investigation is the first both to qualitatively examine the emotional demands of elder care (Study 1) and to empirically demonstrate links between negative suppression and job attitudes (Study 2).

Practical implications

Practitioners face difficulties with recruitment and retention in elder care; the results suggest that negative suppression is a possible point of intervention.

Social implications

There is a shortage of direct care providers in the context of elder care, and the results of the present investigation potentially suggest how to improve working conditions.

Originality/value

The focus on negative suppression in the context of elder care is unique.

Keywords

Citation

Gillespie, J.Z., Barger, P.B., Yugo, J.E., Conley, C.J. and Ritter, L. (2011), "The suppression of negative emotions in elder care", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 26 No. 7, pp. 566-583. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683941111164481

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited