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Religiousness in times of job insecurity: job demand or resource?

Bert Schreurs (Department of Organization & Strategy, Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Hetty van Emmerik (Department of Organization & Strategy, Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, Maastricht, The Netherlands)
Nele De Cuyper (Department of Occupational & Organisational Psychology and Professional Learning, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Leuven, Belgium)
Tahira Probst (Department of Psychology, Washington State University Vancouver, Vancouver, Washington, USA)
Machteld van den Heuvel (Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Eva Demerouti (Department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




Departing from the job demands resources model, the purpose of this paper is to investigate whether religion, defined as strength of religious faith, can be viewed as resource or as demand. More specifically, the authors addressed the question as to how job insecurity and religion interact in predicting burnout and change-oriented behavior.


The authors conducted moderated structural equation modeling on survey data from a sample of 238 employees confronted with organizational change.


Results were largely consistent with the “religion as a demand” hypothesis: religion exacerbated rather than buffered the negative effects of job insecurity, so that the adverse impact of job insecurity was stronger for highly religious employees than for employees with low levels of religiousness. Religious employees appear to experience more strain when faced with the possibility of job loss.


The results of this study challenge and extend existing knowledge on the role of religion in coping with life stressors. The dominant view has been that religion is beneficial in coping with major stressors. The results of this study, however, suggest otherwise: religion had an exacerbating rather than a buffering effect on the relationship between job insecurity and outcomes.



Schreurs, B., van Emmerik, H., De Cuyper, N., Probst, T., van den Heuvel, M. and Demerouti, E. (2014), "Religiousness in times of job insecurity: job demand or resource?", Career Development International, Vol. 19 No. 7, pp. 755-778.



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