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The effect of conflict at work on well-being: Depressive symptoms as a vulnerability factor

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2014
Author Meier Laurenz L., Semmer Norbert K., Gross Sven,
Project Examining the Effect of Well-being on Work Stressors
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Work and Stress
Volume (Issue) 28(1)
Page(s) 31 - 48
Title of proceedings Work and Stress
DOI 10.1080/02678373.2013.876691


In occupational health research, aspects of psychological well-being, including depressive symptoms, have mainly been considered as an outcome. In this research, we examined the role of depressive symptoms as a moderator in the relationship between interpersonal conflict at work and psychological and physical well-being. We assumed that people with relatively high levels of chronic depressive symptoms react particularly strongly to conflict. We tested our hypotheses with a cross-sectional study (N = 218) and with a diary study over two weeks (N = 127). Both studies were conducted in Switzerland. The results of both studies showed that conflict was related to impaired psychological well-being (depressive mood and job satisfaction) and physical well-being (somatic complaints). In line with our assumption, this effect was particularly strong for people with high levels of chronic depressive symptoms. Thus, our findings suggest that conflict may lead to depressive symptoms, which make people even more vulnerable to conflicts, indicating a vicious circle with high psychological and economic costs. © 2014 Taylor & Francis.